Pakistan boil over as Aussies falter
Trevor Chesterfield - 23 May 1999
Spicy service heats up Pakistan hopes
LEEDS - Pakistanis served up the sort of all-round dish to rival the best spicy tandoori chicken to emerge from any sub-continental kitchen unfortunately over-exuberant fans almost spoilt the show at Headingley yesterday.
As Australia now face the daunting prospect of winning their games against West Indies and Bangladesh if they are to reach the Super Sixes, Pakistan's brilliance and all-round flare saw them loom as the main threat to South Africa's World Cup dreams. The two could meet as early as June 5 when the winners of the two groups meet at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.
And, hopefully, there will be stricter control of the Pakistan supporters at that venue than there was at Headingley when they were allowed to invade the field as the security system promised failed to do the job of protecting players and interfering with ground staff. Hopefully the organisers will review the situation again after the Headingley debacle which spoiled what had been one of the finest exhibitions of a limited-overs international you are likely to see.
Pakistan had first put together the sort of innings which had all the hallmarks of skills and entertaining value to reached an impressive 275 with Inzamam-ul-Haq, after failing twice, finding his touch with the sort of strokeplay to be expected from a batsman of his class. Arriving with the score at a shaky 46 for three Inzamam set about to repair the damage with the exciting teenager Abdul Razzaq.
They launched the ``Rescue Pakistan'' bid with all the determination and gusto of two batsmen focussed on the job although there were times when several comical run out situations arose only the Australian fielding, as has been noticeable this tournament, was rarely tidy.
While Razzaq departed for a solid-looking 60 off 99 balls after a partnership of 118 with Inzamam, the burly middle-order batsman took over to help pilot the score 275 on a pitch which had flattened out as the inning progressed. When he was finally run out his departure for 81 off 104 balls had lifted Group B log leaders to a score which could be defended.
Only then the Aussies cooked up their own reply in a tension-laden last few overs only to lose by 10 runs, being dismissed for 265 in reply to 275. We had quality innings on both sides as first Mark Waugh and Ricky Ponting pulling together a second wicket partnership and then Steve Waugh and Michael Bevan took them to the brink of victory. The older Waugh was lucky to escape a lbw appeal from the lightning quick Shoaib Akhtar when the Aussies were on the wrong side of 200.
It was Wasim Akram, however, who continued to inspire the Pakistan bowlers and helped lift the fielding levels at a time when it seemed the Aussies might take the game away from Pakistan. Akram, with four for 40 ended Bevan 's innings when he had scored 61 and as Shoaib bowled the Australian captain, Steve Waugh, the job was a little too far for a decidedly sorry looking 'wizards of Oz'.