PAKISTAN - Gul and Afridi demolish Australia in the 20 20 match


Umar Gul took a wicket first ball, Shahid Afridi took two in his first two balls, and Australia imploded bizarrely after a flying start from Shane Watson. From 42 for 0 in four overs Australia went to 73 for 5 and 108 all out, a target Pakistan chased down easily after an early wobble. Australia had fielded almost a second XI, and played like that.

The first innings of the match was as frenetically eventful as the second was assured and sedate. Gul's 4-0-8-4 was just one run off the best-ever figures in Twenty20 internationals. Afridi followed his double-wicket maiden with another wicket and nine more runs in the next two overs, as the Australian batsmen kept playing for the non-existent spin. The collapse was just as spectacular as Watson's onslaught on Shoaib Akhtar and Sohail Tanvir. It was ironically a missed inside edge by Aleem Dar that started the slide.

No less a bizarre innings would have been fit for a day when the match started one-and-a-half hours after the toss while waiting for Dubai's Sheikh, an esteemed guest for the match. A day when Younis Khan pulled out at the 11th hour because of fever. A day when Misbah-ul-Haq, the stand-in captain, said at the toss that Younis stepped down to give Fawad Alam an opportunity.

The delayed start didn't affect Watson, who seemed to be carrying on from his century in the final one-dayer. He started the match with an outside-edged boundary off Shoaib, didn't get much strike for the next three overs, and exploded in the fourth. He carted Tanvir for back-to-back boundaries through midwicket, and pulled the next to deep backward square leg. In four overs, Watson had reached 33 off 13 deliveries, with Misbah seeming out of sorts.

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