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Gul rocks Australia in Twenty20 clash

Another injury for fragile all-rounder Shane Watson capped a miserable night for Australia as they were thrashed by Pakistan in their Twenty20 clash in Dubai.

Paceman Umar Gul (4-8) took the second best figures in Twenty20 international history as Australia were skittled for 108, before Pakistan cruised to 3-109 in 16.2 overs.

The loss was Australia's third straight in the Twenty20 format, after two defeats in South Africa in March, worrying form ahead of June's World Twenty20.

The return from injury of speedster Brett Lee for his first game since last year's Boxing Day Test was the one shining light.

Watson, who returned to the Australia line-up for this tour after being out since last November with a back injury, had also been scheduled to return to bowling on Friday morning (EST).

But he strained his groin while batting and did not take the field.

The injury dashed Watson's plans to head to South Africa for an Indian Premier League stint. Instead he will fly home on Friday for rehabilitation.

But a Cricket Australia spokesman said team doctor Trefor James had assessed the injury as only a mild strain and it was not expected to cost Watson his World Twenty20 spot.

Watson (33 from 14 balls) had opened the batting and clubbed six boundaries to help Australia to 0-42 after four overs.

His innings was cut short when umpire Aleem Dar incorrectly ruled him LBW from the first ball of the fifth over, bowled by Gul, when he got a thick inside edge.

Australia were still going well at 1-61 from seven overs before leg-spinner Shahid Afridi sparked a major collapse.

Afridi (3-14) dismissed James Hopes and Andrew Symonds, for a golden duck, with his first two balls then bowled David Hussey in his next over.

Off-spinner Shoaib Malik then took two quick wickets before Gul returned to take three more scalps, failing by one run to match New Zealander Mark Gillespie's record figures of 4-7, achieved against Kenya in the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007.

Lee opened the bowling for Australia and his first competitive delivery in more than four months was a quick one.

The 149km/h rocket flew off the top edge of Pakistan opener Salman Butt's bat, through the hands of first slip Marcus North to the third man boundary.

His speed tailed off slightly through his spell, but he claimed the wicket of 17-year-old opener Ahmed Shehzad to pick up 1-22 from four overs.

But after Ben Hilfenhaus dismissed Butt, thanks to a brilliant reflex catch from Hopes, Kamran Akmal (59 not out from 42 balls) and Misbah-ul-Haq (24) ensured a Pakistan win, just as they had done in the final game of the preceding one-day series in Abu Dhabi.

Akmal's sweet-hitting innings included consecutive sixes off Hopes in the 14th over.

source - foxsports.com.au
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