Pakistan slip into Champions Trophy semifinals

Pakistan qualified for the Champions Trophy semifinals after the India-Australia match was abandoned due to rain on Monday night.

Pakistan have already secured four points after winning both of their matches in the four-team Group A, while Australia have three points and India one after two games. The West Indies have lost both of their games.

The top two sides advance to the semifinals.

Defending champions Australia were on course for a big total before the play was called off due to heavy rain in the day-night match.

They posted 234/4 in 42.3 overs after winning the toss on a good batting track, with Michael Hussey (67), skipper Ricky Ponting (65) and Tim Paine (56) all making the most of a mediocre Indian attack.

Cameron White was unbeaten on 35 and Callum Ferguson on two.

India, needing a win to boost their hopes of making it to the last-four, bowled inconsistently, failing to keep pressure on Paine, Ponting and Hussey.

Australia lost an early wicket when Shane Watson pulled left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra to Harbhajan Singh at mid-wicket.

Ponting and Paine then steadied the innings with an 84-run stand for the second wicket, gathering runs comfortably against both pace and spin.

Paine was more aggressive than his captain, once pulling seamer Ishant Sharma for a six and also hitting seven fours in his 58-ball knock. His flourish ended when he was caught by Harbhajan off leg-spinner Amit Mishra.

But there was no respite for India as Hussey and Ponting consolidated their team’s position with an 88-run partnership for the third wicket.

Ponting was caught short of the crease while going for a second run, with Gautam Gambhir hitting the stumps from the deep at the non-striker’s end. He hit one six and four boundaries in his 88-ball knock.

Hussey fell in a bid to step up the run-rate, caught by Sachin Tendulkar at long-off off Sharma in the 41st over after hitting five fours in his 65-ball knock.

India made two changes from the side that lost to Pakistan on Saturday, bringing in Mishra and seamer Praveen Kumar in place of Yusuf Pathan and Rudra Pratap Singh.

Australia retained the team that defeated the West Indies in the previous match.

India clash with the West Indies, while Australia meet Pakistan in the last league matches on Wednesday. — AFP



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