COLOMBO - Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi praised his bowlers for his side's momentous World Cup win over Australia, but admitted shamefacedly that he got out to an irresponsible shot in the run chase. The defending champions were dismissed for just 176 in 46.4 overs with Brad Haddin top-scoring with 42 and it never looked enough despite a wobble from Pakistan, who slipped to 142-6 at one stage in their reply.
The result ends the defending champions' unbeaten 34-match World Cup run and means Pakistan capture top spot in Group A. The bowling star for Pakistan in their four-wicket win was Umar Gul, who took three for 30 in 7.4 overs. Fellow paceman Abdul Razzaq took 2-8 in his four overs. Umar Akmal then made an unbeaten 44 to see his side to victory.
"We made some good plans against these guys and I think the boys, they all stuck to the plans," said Afridi, thanking his bowlers for limiting Australia's batsmen. "I think Gul and (Abdur) Rehman (1-34) started really well and all the bowlers did a great job and credit goes to the bowlers." Questioned about his own dismissal, when he holed out to Brett Lee in the deep off Jason Krejza for two, Afridi held his hands up.
"Don't ask. That was an irresponsible shot as a captain at a stage like that." Afridi was pleased to top the group, which means they will play the fourth-placed team in Group B but he said there were no weak sides in the tournament. "I don't think any team is weaker in this competition but this victory was very, very important for us to keep in a good position in the group and I think you can imagine now how we will play the quarter-final with good positive body language."
Disappointed skipper Ricky Ponting said: "We certainly got a tough game today. We didn't do ourselves any favours. I thought our batting effort was deeply ordinary.
"We stuck it out really well with the ball. I thought the guys bowled pretty well and gave ourselves a bit of a sniff when they went six down but not enough runs on the board."
Ponting said his major concern was that Australia had not been pushed hard enough in previous games. "We've all been working hard. We haven't been pushed in games which is probably our biggest worry but we certainly have been today and I think we can all learn some lessons from the way that we batted today and make sure we do it better next time."