Pakistan end Australia's unbeaten run

Pakistan 178-6 Australia 176 (Pakistan win by 4 wickets)
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The Independent Online

Pakistan ended Australia's 34-match unbeaten World Cup streak with a four-wicket win in their final group stage clash in Colombo.

It was Pakistan who had last inflicted a world Cup defeat on the defending champions - 12 years ago at Headingley - and they required 41 overs to knock off the 177 required today.

The result - which sees Pakistan top Group A - was not without worry though, as Brett Lee's figures of four 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 led the Asians to a historic win.

Earlier, Australia's lowest total of this world cup was down to some inspired bowling by Pakistan as Umar Gul grabbed three wickets while fellow paceman Abdul Razzaq finished with two for eight.

Having won the toss, Australia lost Shane Watson early on to Gul but recovered well thanks to Brad Haddin and skipper Ricky Ponting, who carefully took the total to 75.

The pair's approach was defensive at best but after a 63-run stand, Ponting's poor form continued as he was caught behind off Mohammad Hafeez for just 19. Haddin kept calm to prod his way to 42 off 80 deliveries before falling to Wahab Riaz.

Hafeez and Shahid Afridi kept Michael Clarke and Cameron White in check with some tight spin and the pressure finally paid dividends with White's run-out.

Australia sank further with the losses of set batsmen Clarke (34) and Michael Hussey (12), quickly followed by Mitchell Johnson for a duck.

Jason Krejza (seven) became Gul's second victim while Steven Smith's gutsy 25 off 32 balls raised some hope before he was bowled by Afridi, as Gul fittingly wrapped up the innings by dispatching Brett Lee for five.

Pakistan's promising start was rocked twice by Lee, who removed openers Hafeez (five) and Kamran Akmal (23) inside the mandatory powerplay.

Asad Shafiq held the fort thereafter as he and Younus Khan patiently rode out the Aussie momentum to add 53 for the third wicket.

However, Lee's return to the attack brought fresh joy for Australia as Younus edged straight to keeper Haddin after his patient 31 while Misbah-ul-Haq departed next ball in similar fashion.

Umar's risky hitting in a 41-run stand appeared to have eased Pakistan's nerves but Shafiq was cruelly stranded short of his 50, caught in the slips off Johnson just minutes before Afridi's dismissal.

In the end however, with just 34 required off 17 overs, Umar and Razzaq calmly saw their side home, with the latter hitting the winning boundary to finish unbeaten on 20.