Mirpur: Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal hailed his match-winning 94 as one of the best innings of his career after Australia were beaten by 16 runs in the ICC World Twenty20 here on Sunday.
Akmal helped his side bounce back from the disappointment of losing their opening match to India on Friday with a 54-ball knock that included four sixes, as Pakistan posted 191 for five after batting first. He teamed up with brother Kamran (31) to add 96 for the third wicket.
At one stage it looked like the Akmals’ heroics might be overshadowed as Glenn Maxwell (74 off 33) and Aaron Finch (65 off 54) put Australia in a strong position in reply. But George Bailey’s side lost their last seven wickets for just 49 runs and were bowled out for 175.
Man of the match Umar said: “I would rate it as one of my best knocks because we wanted to record our first win in this tournament and I could help achieve it. I thank my team management for giving me a free hand to go for my shots.”
Asked whether he feared his team may lose the match despite his knock, Akmal said: “We always play to win and we did win in the end. The morale of the team is now high. It is important to play with a positive mind and I went out to bat with such a mind.
“As a bowling unit we are a strong. I knew we could comeback and we showed it, so I was confident despite Maxwell’s knock.
“I feel Umar Gul bowled well, especially his yorkers, and [Shahid] Afridi and [Saeed] Ajmal bowled really well too.”
Australia skipper Bailey was frustrated but insisted his team would take away many positives.
“I am disappointed to lose the match but I am happy that two of our guys [Maxwell and Finch] played outstanding knocks,” he said. “From the bigger picture it is really good for us and we will build on it.
“It was a great fightback from both of them and the way they rebuilt the innings [after Australia lost two wickets in the first over] to get the momentum back was outstanding.
“In the last six overs we had to take risks to reach that score. It is natural for any team to keep their best bowlers for the last and Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul bowled really well in the last overs.”