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Pak bounce back in style

Dhaka: Preity Zinta and Kings XI Punjab can afford to dream big this season. Glenn Maxwell showed much promise of an enterprising season in the IPL with an astonishing innings in the World T20. The Chris Gayles and David Warners are sure to face some tough competition from the Victorian.

Sadly, Maxwell’s 74 off 33 balls ended in a defeat for Australia as the other batsmen couldn’t match his efforts against a Pakistan attack which showed zeal and discipline in the middle and slog overs.

Australia’s opening campaign ended 16 runs short while Pakistan tasted their first victory after the loss against India. When Maxwell was caught in the deep off Shahid Afridi, Australia needed another 66 off 51 balls.

But the loss of regular wickets, including three in the final over, put paid to their hopes. Their inability to tackle the spinners, especially Saeed Ajmal and Afridi, proved to be decisive after Maxwell’s departure.

Man of the Match Umar Akmal’s fine 94 off 54 balls turned out to be decisive though Maxwell had threatened to take the match away.

Later, Umar thanked the team management for allowing him to bat with a free mind.

Excerpts

Mohammed Hafeez: As a bowling unit we are well balanced and strong. I would give full credit to the bowlers for the victory. We could make a comeback after Glenn Maxwell’s innings because of the bowlers. The plan was to open with a left-arm spinner and it clicked today. The spinners Zulfiqar Babar, Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi — did really well. Umar Gul was unbelievable. Umar Akmal has always been a great talent and today he played to his full potential. He held his nerve very well in crucial situations.

George Bailey: I’m not too disappointed with the bowling as the fielding. It’s always disappointing to lose but there were two outstanding innings from Maxwell and Finch. Maxwell showed his maturity and power while giving momentum to the innings.

Umar Akmal (MoM): This innings will go down as the best in my career. It was important to win this match after losing to India in the opening match. I was given a freehand by the management to go out and play my strokes.