KARACHI: Hosts Australia overcame a dogged last-wicket partnership to win the Over-50 World Cup Cricket Tournament by edging out Pakistan by three runs in a pulsating final at the Drummoyne Oval in Sydney on Wednesday.

It was in the fitness of things that the grand final of the tournament went to the wire and Pakistan came perilously close to spoiling the party for the home side.

Chasing 166 in 45 overs, Pakistan recovered from 94-9 before being bowled for 162 in 42.4 overs.

Pakistan had become the favourites to lift the trophy when the requirement was down to just a few runs with plenty of deliveries in hand. But the final twist came in the 43rd over when John Short controversially trapped Babar Butt (46 off 59 balls) leg before wicket to seal the title for Australia, while ending a stand of 68 between Babar and Imtiaz Tarar (28 not out off 54 balls).

The bowling honours were shared by Short (3-27), William Blair (2-33) and Tony Clark (2-34).

Pakistan began their innings on a disastrous note, losing Shahid Anwar, captain Ghulam Ali and Sajid Ali cheaply.

Earlier Tony Clark (44 off 77 balls), Joseph Santostefano (33 off 55) and Todd O’Keefe (25 off 38) were chief run-getters after Australia had nosedived to 26-3 as Dastagir Butt grabbed two wickets in his opening spell of five overs.

Left-arm spinner Jaffer Qureshi was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers with 3-25 in six overs.

Later, Australian captain Peter Solway lifted the World Cup trophy. Babar was named man-of-the-match. Solway was declared the tournament’s best batsman with other awards going to England’s Stephen Foster (best bowler), Javed Hafeez of Pakistan (best fielder) and New Zealand’s Mason Robinson (best wicket-keeper).

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018