SK Flashback: Pakistan pack too much fire-power for Australia in 1999 World Cup group match
This was a clash of the giants, for Australia, Pakistan and South Africa were the three top teams in this tournament. Australia had been surprised by New Zealand earlier, and needed a win against Pakistan to boost their qualification chances. They started well, their pacemen taking the first three wickets for 46 by the 13th over.
But they did not reckon with 19-year-old all-rounder Abdul Razzaq and old war-horse Inzamam-ul-Haq. Razzaq, sent in at No. 3, lived up to the expectations of his team by compiling a well-made 60. Along with Inzamam, who hit a cultured 81, he put on 118 for the fourth wicket.
Inzamam then partnered Yousuf Youhana in a 52-run fifth-wicket stand off just 31 deliveries. After they departed, Moin Khan played a rapid-fire innings, at one stage adding 33 runs from 2.4 overs with skipper Wasim Akram.
Moin, who smashed 31 runs off just 12 deliveries with 3 sixes and 2 fours, helped Pakistan reach an imposing 275 for eight in their 50 overs.
Akram dealt the Australians a body blow by knocking back the stumps of Adam Gilchrist for a duck off the third ball of the innings. But Mark Waugh and Ricky Ponting fought back brilliantly with a 91-run stand off 16.3 overs.
Then three wickets fell in a flurry, with off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq being the main tormentor. But another rearguard action was staged by skipper Steve Waugh and Michael Bevan; they put on 113 for the fifth wicket off 21.5 overs.
Akram was bowling with fire though, and Bevan fell at 214. At this stage 62 runs were required off 51 balls.
Steve Waugh and Damien Martyn got together in a 24-run stand off 21 deliveries. Speedster Shoaib Akhtar then bowled a furious delivery to shatter Waugh’s stumps, and the fight seemed to go out of the Australian side.
Another 38 were needed with 31 deliveries left and 4 wickets in hand. Martyn continued the battle with just the tailenders for company, but wickets continued to tumble. Martyn was still there with 11 runs required off 4 deliveries and two wickets in hand.
A few boundaries from Martyn could have still clinched victory for Australia. The trouble was that he was up against the irrepressible Akram. And sure enough, Akram rattled the timber.
It was too much to expect last man Glenn McGrath to pull it off. Akram dealt him the same treatment two balls later, and Pakistan won this high-scoring match by 10 runs - leaving Australia’s campaign in shambles.
The two innings followed similar patterns, with wickets falling in a heap followed by fighting stands. What made the difference was two short, blistering innings - Youhana’s 29 off 16 balls and Moin’s 31 off 12 balls. The two accounted for an amazing 60 runs off 28 balls combined, or 12.85 runs per over.
That proved to be the clincher in the end. Remember, the margin of victory was only 10 runs.
Pakistan: 275 for 8 wickets (50 overs), Australia: 265 all out (49.5 overs) (CWC 1999)Published 11 May 2019, 17:29 IST