Australia win, early exit for Pakistan

(Above) Australian captain Steve Smith hit 61 to rescue his side from a shaky start after the loss of three early wickets.
(Above) Australian captain Steve Smith hit 61 to rescue his side from a shaky start after the loss of three early wickets. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
(Above) James Faulkner took 5-27, the best figures by an Australian bowler in a T20 international, to secure victory by 21 runs against Pakistan in the World T20 encounter at Mohali yesterday.
(Above) James Faulkner took 5-27, the best figures by an Australian bowler in a T20 international, to secure victory by 21 runs against Pakistan in the World T20 encounter at Mohali yesterday. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MOHALI (India) • James Faulkner took a record five-wicket haul, after Steve Smith hit an unbeaten half-century to help Australia post a 21-run win and knock Pakistan out of cricket's World Twenty20 yesterday.

The victory means Australia remain in the hunt for a place in next week's semi-finals, with two wins from three matches and sets up an effective knock-out tie against India tomorrow.

Both teams have four points, but Australia have a better run rate. New Zealand top the group with six points from three victories and play Bangladesh, who are already out of the tournament, in their last match.

The stage for a comfortable Australian win was set by an unbeaten 61-run knock from skipper Smith, who shared key stands with Shane Watson (44 not out) and Glenn Maxwell (30) to rescue his side from a shaky 57-3.

Faulkner took four wickets from his last six balls and also accounted for the dangerous Sharjeel Khan (30) to finish with 5-27, the best figures by an Australian in a T20 international.

"I was lucky there at the end," said Faulkner, who was declared the Man of the Match. "More importantly, we are back on track.

"We have played well all summer back home. We showed what we can do with the bat. (We are) looking forward to the next game against India, who are a tough opponent at home. We should be up for the challenge."

Pakistan could only manage 172-8 in reply to Australia's strong 193-4 on a docile track in Mohali, Punjab.

Rookie leg-spinner Adam Zampa chipped in with two for 32 in a commendable all-round show by the reigning 50-over world champions.

"It all came together," said Smith. "We have not played to our potential in the previous two games. Today was quite a clinical performance."

The defeat saw Pakistan, the 2009 winners, make a humiliating early exit from the tournament.

It could also spell the retirement of captain Shahid Afridi, 36.

"Honestly, we were not good enough today," said the explosive all-rounder, who had a poor tournament. "In the last four overs, we gave away 40 runs.

"When I go back home, after four or five days, I will make the decision (to retire). I will announce it in my country. There is so much pressure, media pressure. I have enjoyed my captaincy."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2016, with the headline 'Australia win, early exit for Pakistan'. Print Edition | Subscribe