(Photo: Shane Watson cracks another boundry on the way to 81 against Pakistan in the World Twenty20 – Getty Images)
Australia set an imposing target of 191, and Pakistan – victor over Bangladesh (Australia’s next opponent) on Saturday – never looked like catching it after losing early wickets.
Australia began slowly, with four of the first five deliveries dot balls, a four from David Warner the exception.
But the runs soon began to flow, not least thanks to Pakistan’s decision to use Mohammad Hafeez as an opening bowler, and the Aussie openers took 17 off the fourth over.
Hafeez was soon withdrawn, and his replacement Mohammad Sami quickly took the wicket of Warner with his fourth delivery as he was caught at square leg by Umar Akmal.
Shahid Afridi then boosted Pakistan, restricting Australia to just one run in his opening over, and when Hafeez returned to remove Michael Clarke for just two, Australia was 2-64 after eight overs.
But Hafeez was still proving too expensive and David Hussey smashed two sixes off Afridi in quick succession as Australia accelerated.
Hussey then had four sixes, including three in a row, in the 16th over, as it began to pile on the runs.
Hussey eventually went for 53 off 29 balls, having hit five sixes, and Saeed Ajmal dismissed Shane Watson for 81 three balls later.
Pakistan took five Australian wickets in the final over, but it already had enough runs on the board.
Pakistan lost Kamran Akmal for a duck on the first legitimate ball of the innings, and Salman Butt (15) and Hafeez (12) soon followed.
Misbah-ul-Haq (41) and Shahid Afridi (33) built a partnership worth 47, but once they went there was no resistance in the tail as Australia prevented Pakistan from getting anywhere close to its target on the run rate.
Australia’s road to Twenty20 World Cup glory
- Australia vs Bangladesh: Barbados, May 5
- Super 8s: May 6 – May 11
- Semi Finals: May 13 – 14
- Final: Barbados, May 16
For a full Aussie sports calendar, go to www.australiantimes.co.uk/sport