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Umar Akmal stars in Pakistan’s win over Australia

March 23, 2014

MIRPUR, Bangladesh (AP) — Umar Akmal struck a career-best 94 Sunday as Pakistan defeated Australia by 16 runs in a high-scoring game at the World Twenty20.

Put in to bat by Australia, Pakistan scored an intimidating 191-5 and then dismissed Australia for 175 in 20 overs.

Umar Akmal struck nine fours and four sixes during his sixth half-century. He shared a 96-run third-wicket stand with older brother Kamran Akmal, who scored a run-a-ball 31.

After being dropped on 22 by Brad Hogg at the square-leg boundary off Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umar Akmal was finally caught at long-on off pace bowler Mitchell Starc while trying to reach his century with a six.

He struck two sixes and a four off the only over from part-time bowler Aaron Finch.

The Akmal brothers repaired the early damage inflicted by Australia’s pace bowlers that had reduced Pakistan to 25-2 by the fifth over.

Opener Ahmed Shehzad (5) was out early when he top-edged a pull shot that was caught by Doug Bollinger off his own bowling while captain Mohammad Hafeez (13) was bowled off an inside edge by Shane Watson.

Kamran Akmal struck four fours in his knock before a well-judged catch by Warner off Nathan Coulter-Nile, who finished with 2-36.

“I was given a free hand to go and play my strokes,” Umar Akmal said. “I’d like to play more such innings at number four.”

Pakistan, which lost its opening group 2 game to India by seven wickets, was given a scare by Glenn Maxwell and opener Finch, who produced stroke-filled half centuries.

Maxwell raced to 74 off 33 balls with seven fours and six sixes while Finch made 65 from 54 with seven fours and two sixes.

Maxwell, whose previous highest score in 17 games was 27, reached his maiden half-century off just 18 balls, the fourth fastest in T20 internationals.

He got to the mark during the most expensive over of the match bowled by pace bowler Bilawal Bhatti. Maxwell smashed two fours and two sixes in that over which included a no-balled beamer that went to the boundary down the leg side for five no ball runs. The over cost Pakistan 30 runs and moved Australia to 102-2.

Maxwell was let off on 70 by Saeed Ajmal at deep cover off pace bowler Umar Gul (2-29). He added 118 off 10.4 overs with Finch, who survived a chance on 33 when wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal dropped him off Ajmal.

The pair came together after left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar grabbed two wickets in the first over. Babar, brought in for pace bowler Junaid Khan in this match, bowled David Warner and had Shane Watson caught behind for four apiece. He finished with 2-26.

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