Cricket: Aussie fightback leaves Waqar at a loss

GROS ISLET, Julian Guyer- Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said he still "couldn't believe it" after the defending champions lost a thrilling World Twenty20 semi-final to Australia in a game they'd all but won.
"All you can do is just smile about it," said the former fast bowler turned Pakistan coach in admiration of an astounding Australia rally.

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis (right) and captain Shahid Afridi
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis (right) and captain Shahid Afridi
"I thought we did our best. What else can you do?," he also told reporters after a remarkable match at the Beausejour Stadium here on Friday.
Set an imposing 192 to win, after Pakistan had piled up 191 for six on the back of fifties from the Akmal brothers (Kamran made 50 and Umar 56 not out), Australia were 105 for five in the 13th over when Michael Hussey replaced brother David at the crease.
But the man-of-the-match turned the game on its head with a superb innings of 60 not out, made from just 24 balls, with six sixes and three fours.
Australia needed 34 off two overs and 18 off the last, from off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.
However, left-hander Hussey, who put on an unbroken 53 in just 16 balls with Mitchell Johson, whose contribution was a mere five runs, saw Australia home with ball to spare as they won by three wickets.
Now it will be Australia who face arch-rivals England in Sunday's final at Barbados's Kensington Oval.
"I don't think we went wrong anywhere," said Waqar, who paid tribute to Cameron White for a quickfire 43 that started to swing the match back Australia's way.
"We did a good job, but you've just got to give credit to the Australians for the way they batted.
"They kept the momentum with them all the way, especially Cameron White's innings. I thought that set the tone, and then Hussey did the real damage.
"I still can't believe it. It was an unbelievable innings; you just don't see many like that around.
"I can't really blame anyone. I thought we bowled pretty well and batted outstandingly. It's just that the Australians were too good for us today."
A wretched tour of Australia, where Pakistan lost all three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 match led to several senior players being banned from representing their country, with former captains Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf banned indefinitely.
On top of all of this, Pakistan saw paceman Umar Gul, the leading wicket-taker in Twenty20 cricket with 43 victims in 26 matches, withdraw with a shoulder injury.
Yet they still almost defeated a powerful Australia side, unbeaten at the tournament so far, in a dramatic encounter.
"They're a very fine batting side - because 191 on a surface that was turning a bit is tough with our spinners," Waqar added.
"But it's hard to beat them when they've still got batters coming in at number nine. They can maybe improve a little bit in their bowling, but they are a very fine batting side."
Turning to the luckless Ajmal, whose final four deliveries were smashed for six, six, four and six by Hussey, Waqar said: "Saeed Ajmal bowled superbly in the last game we played (against South Africa).
"But what can you do when someone is batting like that?"
Looking ahead to Sunday's final Waqar, whose team lost by six wickets to England in the Super Eights, said: "We've seen a great game here, and I'm looking forward to another thriller in the final.
"England are on top of their form. It's just a matter of holding your nerves in the final.
"But the way Australia played today, they are very dangerous.
"When you have such momentum with you it's always handy. They played like champions. They haven't won the Twenty20 yet, but this is their opportunity - and I think they're going to come really hard at the English team."

Saturday, May 15th 2010
Julian Guyer

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