Australia sustained a 32-run defeat in their final Super Eights match against Pakistan, but were still able to celebrate a place in the World Twenty20 semi-finals alongside their conquerors.
After easily winning their opening two Super Eights matches Australia could afford to lose after Pakistan posted 149 for six batting first.
That left George Bailey’s side needing 112 to go through, however, they edgily reached that mark in the 20th over – thanks almost solely to Mike Hussey’s unbeaten 54 – to finish on 117 for seven.
Despite Pakistan’s win their progress to the last four was not assured until India failed to beat South Africa by enough to overtake them in the later game. India could only beat the Proteas by a single run after needing to win by 31 runs. They made 152-6 in their 20 overs and bowled South Africa out for 151.
Pakistan will therefore meet hosts Sri Lanka in the last four while group winners Australia will face West Indies – who they beat in the group stage – as they aim to to reach Sunday’s final in Colombo.
“Pakistan completely outplayed us,” Australia captain George Bailey said, “but it’s a three-phase tournament and we’re in phase three.
“To this point we’ve been really consistent and the challenge will be to get that form back in the semi-finals.”
Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said: “It’s a great effort by the bowlers. We got the total we wanted today, and then I think spinners did a great job.”
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said: “There were instances where we should have had 10, 15 runs more on the board but we lost too many wickets early. Overall, I’m quite happy with how the team performed.
“We can’t have control over how other teams played.”