Aussies reach semis with last ball thrilling win over Pakistan

CENTURION: Australia qualified for the semi-finals with a thrilling two-wicket win over Pakistan taking a last ball bye in their last match here at the Super Sports Stadium on Wednesday.

The defending champions, having won the toss and restricted Pakistan to 205-6 off 50 overs, were on the way for an easy victory as they were 140-2 on the board, seven wickets in hand and almost 19 overs left.

But as the Pakistani bowlers came alive, wickets tumbled and Australia entered the final over needing five runs to win a match transformed into a thriller after being tedious to watch for so long.

Tail-enders Brett Lee and Nathan Hauritz picked off singles against superb bowling from Umar Gul and some inspired fielding to reach 206-8 in the best match so far of the tournament.

Man-of-the-match Michael Hussey top scored with 64 and Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson took two wickets each for the Australians, who face England Friday in the first semi-final.

Pakistan were never comfortable on a seam-friendly wicket and openers Kamran Akmal and Shahid Afridi compiled only 30 when the partnership was terminated on an overcast day.

Afridi was forced to play a pull off Mitchell Johnson and James Hopes covered ground quickly to take the catch as Pakistan struggled to match the form that reaped 302 runs against India last weekend.

Kamran also paid dearly for attempting a pull off Watson and the ball took a bottom edge into leg stump to leave Pakistan 75-2 approaching the 20-over mark.

It was lacklustre fare from teams who could meet again in the final with barely a murmur from the small crowd who braved cool conditions to watch the action.

Skipper Younus Khan was the third Pakistani victim and his innings summed up the lethargy that enveloped his team with 49 balls needed to garner an 18-run total that included just two fours.

Johnson joined the Australian 100 ODI wicket club with a soft one as Shoaib Malik attempted a drive only to send the ball straight to Ponting at short cover.

Mohammed Yousuf and Misbah-ul-Haq consolidated the innings with a 63-run fifth-wicket stand before the former was caught by Cameroon White trying to steer a Brett Lee delivery over midwicket.

Misbah hit his wicket in the final over and the most unpredictable team in world cricket must have sensed they had not scored enough runs to avoid losing and slipping to second spot on the table.

After ducks against the Windies and India, Watson was desperate for runs and struck five boundaries in a brisk 24 before Gul deceived him and the ball edged to Kamran.

Fellow opener Tim Paine departed three overs later, trapped leg before by Afridi spin, then ”old hands” Ricky Ponting and Hussey added 81 runs for the third wicket.

Ponting made 32 off twice as many balls and managed just one boundary before a spectacular Gul catch off a Shoaib delivery sent the Australian skipper back to the pavilion.

Replacement Callum Ferguson made just seven off 18 balls before he was bowled by Saeed Ajmal, whose low, swift delivery uprooted the middle and leg stumps.

A Rana Naved yorker proved the undoing of Hussey, who could not get his bat down sufficiently quickly and was bowled having faced 87 balls and scoring six fours and one six.

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US Congress ratifies KL aid bill for Pak

WASHINGTON; Sami Ibrahim: The US Congress Wednesday gave the final go-ahead to triple aid to Pakistan to 1.5 billion dollars a year through 2014, hoping to encourage stability to assist the fight against Islamic extremism.

Despite misgivings by some lawmakers, the House of Representatives approved the bill by a voice vote after the Senate unanimously approved it last week.

The bill now needs only the signature of President Barack Obama, who has enthusiastically supported the aid package as part of his administration”s campaign to root out Islamic extremism from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Strauss applauds Vettori”s gesture

JOHANNESBURG: New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said he opted to give England batsman Paul Collingwood a life “in the spirit of the game” as the Blac

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Mehsud tribes hold Jirga with PA for peace

WANA: Veterans of Mehsud tribes in South Waziristan Agency held a Jirga with political administration to discuss various issues including the emigration of the tribes from the area, establishment of peace and re-opening the roads.

According to Jirga sources, various tribal veterans including former MNA Maulana Merajud Din, Malik Saeed Anwar, Maulana Aisamud Din and Malik Rapa Khan said the people emigrating from SWA are being pestered in various areas and also that they are facing problems due to the closure of roads.

They also demanded that a camp be set up in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank for the emigrants from SWA and they should be registered.

Addressing the Jirga, Political Agency Shahab Ali Shah said the every possible succor would be provided to the affectees.

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Power crisis pushes apparel-makers into crisis: PRGMEA

KARACHI: Leading garment manufacturers have said that non-availability of electricity and six per cent increase in power tariff will push the apparel

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Star bowler Asif clears ICC Dope Test

CENTURION: A good news for Pakistan cricket before tough counter with World Champion Kangaroos as Pakistani star fast bowler Muhammad Asif has been cleared of ICC dope test.

His Dope test, conducted here on Monday, resulted negative, Pakistan cricket team manager Yawar Saeed told Geo news late on Tuesday.

According to sources privy to Pakistan management in Centurion, team management has received report on clearance of Muhammad Asif in ICC Dope test on Tuesday night.

It is pertinent to mention that ICC officials called in Muhammad Asif for a surprise Dope test during practice session some days ago, sources said.

Muhammad Asif was banned for international cricket since 2006 when during Champions Trophy held in India; his Dope Test was resulted positive.

He was banned for yet another one year from international cricket second time when amid IPL first edition, his Dope Test was again turned positive.

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MoU signed to boost industrial research


Seoul National University (SNU), of South Korea and Institute of Space Technology (IST) Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding

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Pakistan News

US bill for Pak-Afghan trade help stalls

WASHINGTON: Six months ago, President Barack Obama asked Congress to give him two key tools ó aid and trade ó to fight Islamic extremism in Afghanista

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