Michael Hussey’s latest rescue mission saw Australia beat defending champions Pakistan by three wickets with just a ball to spare to reach the World Twenty20 final on Friday.
Set a huge 192 to win, Australia collapsed to 62 for four.
But, initially through Cameron White, who made 43, and Hussey’s unbeaten 60, they recovered and will now face old rivals England in Sunday’s final at Barbados’s Kensington Oval.
Australia needed 18 to win off the last over, from off-spinner Saeed Ajmal. Mitchell Johnson took a single off the first ball and then Hussey took over.
The left-hander pulled Ajmal for six, struck him over long-on for six more, brought the scores level with a four and thumped another six for good measure as Australia finished on 197 for seven in pursuit of 192.
The man-of-the-match faced just 24 balls, but hit six sixes and three fours.
Hussey had come in after brother David had fallen to leave Australia 105 for five in the 13th over.
But the elder Hussey refused to be cowed and together with Johnson, who made a mere five from three balls, put on an unbroken 53 in just 16 balls.
“This game of cricket just keeps amazing me every day,” Michael Hussey said.
“I can’t believe it, it’s one of the best feelings of my career.”
Cameron White sparked the initial revival, with 43 off 31 balls, including five sixes, and Michael Hussey said: “Cameron has batted really well all tournament, we needed someone to change the momentum and he did that really well.”
Elated Australia captain Michael Clarke said: “Michael Hussey is an absolute freak … Once Cameron got out I thought it was going to be really tough but with Hussey in you never know.”
Defeated Pakistan captain Shahid Afrid added: “It was a very good [Pakistan] total but the way White and Hussey played, they played mature and good innings.
“We perhaps lost it in the last over but Ajmal has bowled really well in this tournament.”
Opener Kamran Akmal’s 50 and younger brother Umar’s even more rapid 56 not out came against an Australia side, yet to lose at this tournament, which had thrashed them by 34 runs in a first round group match.
Left-arm quick Mohammad Aamer, who led the attack with three wickets for 35 runs, removed Australia openers David Warner (nought) and Shane Watson (16).
And when wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal completed two neat stumpings off left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman and leg-spinner Afridi to dismiss Brad Haddin and captain Michael Clarke respectively, Australia were 62 for four inside nine overs.
David Hussey and White staged a brief revival before the former was caught and bowled by Rehman.
White though kept swinging away but when he drove an Aamer full toss straight to Mohammad Hafeez, Australia were 139 for six in the 17th over.
Australia though, thanks to Michael Hussey, kept going to seal a superb come-from-behind win.
Pakistan, sent in by Clarke after rain delayed the start, saw their innings start with a Dirk Nannes maiden.
But Kamran Akmal and left-hander Salman Butt (32) shared a first-wicket stand of 82 as Australia’s pace trio of Nannes, Shaun Tait and Johnson failed to make an early breakthrough.
Nannes’s second over saw the match’s first boundaries when Kamran Akmal, stepping away to leg, lofted him high over the covers. Next ball he drove straight down the ground for another four.
Kamran Akmal was severe on Watson, driving the medium-pacer’s first ball back for a huge six.
Akmal then took two more boundaries off Watson to complete a fine fifty off just 32 balls with two sixes and six fours.
But he was out for 50 after Warner, running round from the extra-cover boundary, took a fine diving catch off Johnson.
Umar Akmal smashed Johnson for two enormous sixes, the second a crunching pull over midwicket that saw him to fifty in just 29 balls, with four sixes and two fours. — AFP