Pakistan snap Australia's 34-game unbeaten World Cup streak

Pakistan snapped defending champion Australia's 34-game unbeaten streak in the World Cup with a four-wicket upset victory in their high-profile last league match to top Group A today.

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Pakistan snapped defending champion Australia's 34-game unbeaten streak in the World Cup with a four-wicket upset victory in their high-profile last league match to top Group A today.

Pakistan, who were incidentally the last team to have beaten Australia in World Cup before today, first shot their opponents out for a modest 176 in 46.4 overs before chasing down the target with nine overs to spare at Premadasa stadium.

Chasing 177 for a win, Pakistan suffered early jolts with fast bowler Brett Lee ripping through their top-order with a sensational four-wicket burst before romping home.

Asad Shafiq, who scored 78 not out against Zimbabwe in Pakistan's earlier match, top-scored with 46 while Umar Akmal and Younis Khan chipped in with 44 not out and 31 respectively.

Run rate was never an issue as the target was small but Pakistan were in danger when they were six down for 142 in the 33rd over before Umar and Abdul Razzaq (20 not out) took their side home after stitching 46 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket stand.

Razzaq hit the winning run - a four - as Pakistan reached 178 for six in 41 overs.

Both the sides have already qualified for quarterfinals before the match but with today's win, Pakistan top Group A with 10 points while Australia (nine) finished third behind Sri Lanka (nine) on net run rate. New Zealand are fourth with eight points.

Pakistan play the fourth-ranked side from Group B, which will be decided after the match between India and West Indies in Chennai tomorrow.

Australia, who were last defeated by Pakistan in the World Cup match at Leeds in May 1999, posted their sixth lowest total in the showpiece event and lowest in first innings since 1992 edition, with Brad Haddin top-scoring with 42 after electing to bat.

Lee kept Australia in for a chance with a devastating spell of fast bowling including two wickets in consecutive balls, but ultimately found that the total they were defending was too small.

After removing both the Pakistan openers Mohammed Hafeez (5) and Kamran Akmal (23) in his five-over first spell, Lee returned to dismiss Younis and Misbah-ul-Haq (0) with consecutive balls in the 23rd over though he could not complete his hat-trict.

Lee, who extracted pace and carry from the slow track, gave Australia an early breakthrough by dismissing Hafeez LBW in the third over.

Hafeez closed the face of his bat too early while trying to work a quick and straight delivery through midwicket only to offer a catch to the bowler in his follow-through as Pakistan were one down for just 12 runs.

Kamran, however, continued his aggressive batting, smashing Mitchell Johnson for two fours in the sixth over after the fast bowler replaced an ineffective Shaun Tait who conceded 13 runs in his two-over first spell.

It was Lee again, who provided the second breakthrough for Australia by claiming Kamran's wicket in the ninth over.

Kamran missed the line of a Lee full length delivery which hit his pads and the umpire gave him out LBW. The Pakistani wicket-keeper batsman went for a review and the third umpire upheld the original decision. Kamran hit five fours in his 27-ball 23.

Shane Watson and Johnson were able to contain the scoring rate after Ponting took bowling powerplay in the 11th over but they failed to get the breakthrough.

Ponting had to bring Lee back into attack and he immediately struck in the fourth ball of his second spell with scalps of Younis and Misbah, both edging to wicketkeeper Haddin.

Younis, who stitched a 53-run stand with Shafiq for the third wicket to steady the Pakistan innings from the early jolt, hit four boundaries in his 42-ball innings.

Shafiq and Umar then shared 41 crucial runs for the fifth wicket before the former fell to Johnson in the 32nd over, leaving Pakistan needing 38 runs from 18 overs with five wickets in hand.

Another quick Pakistani wicket fell in the form of captain Shahid Afridi (2) who unnecessarily tried to slog only to be caught at long-on by Lee.

The crucial wicket raised hopes of a famous victory by Australia but Umar and Razzaq batted sensibly to deny them any further success.

Earlier, Pakistan produced a clinical bowling display to bundle out Australia for 176 in 46.4 overs. The Pakistani bowlers stuck to a superb line and length to rattle the Australian batsmen with their top half dismissed for 134.

Pacer Umar Gul was the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 30 runs. The other seamers Razzaq and Wahab Riaz chipped in with two and one wicket respectively.

The spin trio of Shahid Afridi, Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez also made the maximum use of a slow track, picking up a wicket each as Australia lost wickets at regular intervals.

Haddin top-scored with 42 runs with three fours and a six. Vice-captain Michael Clarke and Steven Smith were the other main contributors with 34 and 25 respectively.

After losing Shane Watson cheaply for nine, Australia recovered through a 63-run stand between wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and captain Ricky Ponting.

The 19th over of the innings bowled by part-timer Hafeez proved to be crucial as Ponting attempted to cut a delivery only to edge it to wicketkeeper. Ponting was ruled not out by umpire Marais Erasmus but Pakistan successfully reviewed the decision and TV replays were clear that Ponting had edged it.

There was heated exchange of words between Pakistani players and non-striker Haddin while the decision was being reviewed and then Ponting too got involved in the altercation before walking back to the pavilion.

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