Pakistan have been eliminated from the ICC T20 World Cup 2016 after their latest defeat at the hands of Australia in a Group 2 fixture. Australia sealed a 21-run victory at the Punjab Cricket Association's IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, India, on Friday, 25 March.
Steven Smith won the toss and elected to bat as they expected an even contest. Aaron Finch was back in the side in place of Mitchell Marsh and the No 1 ranking batsman in T20 opened the innings along with Usman Khawaja.
Khawaja was dismissed by Wahab Riaz in the fourth over after a quick 21. David Warner replaced him in the middle and his poor form continued as he was bowled after adding nine runs to the total.
Finch managed only 15 after coming back into the side and was sent back by spinner Imad Wasim. Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell were looking to forge a partnership, but the latter was dismissed for 30.
Shane Watson was moved down the order since Finch returned to the side. The all-rounder, who has already announced his retirement, was in fine form as he and Smith put on 74 runs between them.
Smith scored an unbeaten 61, while Watson's quick 44 off 21 balls helped Australia post a total of 193. Riaz and Wasim picked up two wickets each after conceding over 40 runs.
In reply, Sharjeel Khan gave Pakistan a very good start. However, Ahmed Shehzad failed to get going as he was dismissed cheaply for a run off Josh Hazlewood's bowling. Sharjeel continued his impressive batting, before being sent back to the pavilion by James Faulkner.
Khalid Latif and Umar Akmal had their task cut out to keep the scoreboard ticking as the pressure was mounting and the required rate was climbing up. Akmal got off to a very good start with a six and two fours and later, Latif joined him in the action.
Adam Zampa broke the partnership after Umar Akmal was bowled by the spinner for 32. Shahid Afridi, who replaced Akmal, was also sent back to the pavilion after smashing two sixes down the ground.
A good piece of bowling from Zampa helped dismiss Afridi. Shoiab Malik joined Latif in the middle and after Afridi's return to the pavilion, Latif got the scoreboard ticking. Malik also scored quick runs as he and Latif had the onerous task of ensuring a Pakistan victory in their final Super 10 fixture.
Latif was finally bowled by Faulkner as he fell four runs short of his half century. Imad Wasim was the next player to be dismissed the very next ball. Sarfraz Ahmed replaced him in the middle, but it was Malik who kept Pakistan's hopes alive.
They needed 30 off the last over. Faulkner struck again as Sarfraz Ahmed was dismissed while playing the reverse sweep. That was the final nail as Australia scented victory. Wahab Riaz was the next to be bowled out and the disappointment on Afridi's face summed up Pakistan's performance in the tournament.
Faulkner was the star player with the ball after picking up five wickets. Australia face India in their last Group 2 fixture on 27 March. Steven Smith's side need to beat the host nation of the T20 World Cup in order to qualify for the semi-finals. The winning side on Sunday will make it to the last four as Pakistan and Bangladesh have been eliminated from the tournament.