Aussies' 12-year run ends

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The Independent Online

Pakistan ended Australia's 34-match unbeaten World Cup run with a four-wicket win in their final group game in Colombo. Pakistan, who had inflicted the Australians' last defeat in this competition 12 years ago at Headingley, required 41 overs to knock off the 177 required yesterday.

The result, which sees Pakistan top Group A, was not without worry though, as Brett Lee's figures of 4 for 28 in eight overs had threatened the unlikeliest of fightbacks.

However, Asad Shafiq's 46 off 81 deliveries and Umar Akmal's unbeaten 44 helped Pakistan over the line.

Earlier, Australia's lowest total of this World Cup was down to inspired bowling by Pakistan as Umar Gul grabbed three wickets and his fellow pace bowler Abdul Razzaq finished with 2 for 8.

Australia's captain Ricky Ponting said: "We certainly had a tough game today. We didn't do ourselves any favours. Our batting effort was particularly ordinary."

The co-hosts Bangladesh crashed out after losing their must-win Group B match with South Africa by a huge margin of 206 runs in Mirpur, thereby ensuring England's continued participation at the World Cup.

None of the top five Bangladeshi batsman reached double figures in pursuit of South Africa's 284 for 8. Graeme Smith elected to bat first and was rewarded by Jacques Kallis' 69 off 76 balls, Hashim Amla's 51 off 59 and Francois du Plessis' run-a-ball 52. The result means South Africa top the group.