Pakistan went from the sublime to the disastrous against Australia on Monday, recording their lowest Twenty20 international total and suffering their heaviest defeat in the shortest form of the game.
Mohammed Hafeez’s side were bowled out for just 74, giving Australia a crushing 94-run win three days after Pakistan had secured the three-match series with victory in a super over after a seven-wicket success in the first match.
Pakistan’s score was below their previous lowest 89 against England in 2010 and the loss eclipsed their worst in terms of runs, beating the 48-run defeat they suffered to England in 2009.
They also equaled India’s score of 74 made against Australia in 2008, the lowest total by a leading cricket nation and sixth-lowest score by any side in a Twenty20 international.
“It is a wake-up call for the whole team as in this last game we couldn’t meet expectations,” Hafeez said. “Australia played better cricket than us today, their openers were outstanding and we didn’t play smart cricket, losing too many wickets in the first six overs.”
Australia captain George Bailey was delighted with the World Cup in Sri Lanka starting next week.
“It was a great win,” he said. “We’ve worked really hard since the opening game, we were good the other night and tonight we were better. Momentum is important and confidence is important, but now we have got to go out and replicate that in Sri Lanka.”
After Australia reached 168 for seven, Pakistan’s top-order folded in limp fashion against aggressive bowling from fast bowlers Mitchell Starc (3-11) and Patrick Cummins (3-15).
The Australia total was founded on their highest partnership for all wickets in Twenty20 internationals: 111 between openers David Warner (59) and Shane Watson (47) from just 64 balls.
Spinners Shoaib Malik and Raza Hasan were both hit for three sixes in an over and Warner and Watson struck 11 sixes between them.
Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was a key figure in reining back Australia after that breakneck start, with only 63 runs coming from the final 10 overs after Bailey’s team looked on course for a score in excess of 200.
When Pakistan batted Starc began the rot, removing Imran Nazir LBW for a single and Cummins struck with his second ball, inducing Hafeez (9) to drive loosely to extra cover.
Three balls later Cummins had his second wicket as he crashed through a Shoaib Malik drive to bowl the former captain for a duck and Kamran Akmal also failed to score when he got a leading edge to a Starc delivery to be caught at mid-off.
Umar Akmal’s dismissal reduced Pakistan to 19 for five in the sixth over and from then on it became nothing more than a face-saving operation for the side batting second.
For Australia, the win also took them back above Ireland into ninth place in the International Cricket Council’s T20 rankings ahead of their match against an Associate side in Sri Lanka on Wednesday next week.