Australia defeated Pakistan by 6 wickets

The final result may sound convincing from the third quarter-final of the Cricket World Cup, as the hosts the Australians ultimately triumphed by a comfortable six wicket margin over Pakistan, but the composition of their win owed a big favour to Steve Smith and his tremendous battling innings. Without his priceless knock of 65, they may well have come undone in the face of some tremendous aggressive fast bowling from Wahab Riaz, as their top order batsman for once looked like they may have found their match in the tournament.

Shane Watson and Glenn Maxwell capitalised on Smith's tenacity to take the hosts to their target with over 16 overs to spare in the end.

Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first in Adelaide, as they looked to defy the odds that had the Australians down as very firm favourites for the quarter-final tie. The early signs were not good though, as they were soon languishing at 24-2. A partnership of 73 for the third wicket brought them back into the contest and looking capable of posting a decent score. Wickets began to tumble regularly from then on though, stymieing their run rate and limiting their chances of a total that could be defended, as they slumped to 213 all out in the final over of their allotted 50 overs.

Haris Sohail contributed 41 as their top scorer, with captain Misbah-ul-Haq (34) the only other player scoring more than 30 with the bat in a disappointing total.

The two Mitchells, Starc (2-40) and Johnson (1-42) were for once slightly overshadowed by Josh Hazlewood's 4-35 in the Aussie bowling attack. Maxwell demonstrated his all-rounder capabilities with a handy (if slightly expensive) 2-43 spell with ball in hand.

Chasing just 214 for the victory, the home fans would have no doubt been expecting a comfortable stroll towards the semi-finals, but the Pakistanis are a proud cricketing nation and were determined to maintain their hopes in the tournament. None more so than the fiery left-armer Riaz, who tore into the top order to remove both the usually destructive David Warner and captain Michael Clarke cheaply, leaving the Baggy Greens tottering at 59-3.

Besides trying to defeat the batsman with sheer pace and bounce, Riaz was also equally adept at giving them a verbal barrage whenever he could. The home side have more than one match winner in their ranks though and it was Smith's turn to shine for once as he held firm to notch a valuable 65 runs, defying the hostility from the bowlers. That allowed the men to come after him to be eased of some of the pressure that had been building, as Watson (64) and Maxwell (44) completed the task, both men remaining unbeaten at the close as the Aussies reached 216-4. Watson was dropped during his innings off Riaz, perhaps the turning point in the game, but thereafter demonstrated just why he is back in the side, after earlier reservations about his inclusion during the tournament.

Maxwell was also dropped early on in his innings, but then proceeded to pummel the bowling in his usual aggressive manner.

Australia live to fight another day and have now set up a match that would have been worthy of the final itself, as they look to end the Indians winning streak at the last two World Cups, when they face them in the semi-final. Something has to give and it may well be the crucial home advantage that ultimately brings the hosts through that match, although the Indians have looked to be in ominously good form during this competition.