ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2020
On this day: Hussey lashes Pakistan in heroic T20 innings
Australia were staring down the barrel in the T20 World Cup semi-final on this day in 2010 ... then Michael Hussey exploded in one of the format's finest ever knocks
14 May 2020, 12:12 PM AEST
It was the game Australia had no business winning yet did, thanks to one of the greatest T20 innings ever played.
Ten years ago in St Lucia, in the 2010 Twenty20 Men’s World Cup semi-final, Michael Hussey rode his luck, and a stiff cross-breeze, to smash an incredible 60 not out from just 24 balls to blast Australia to a famous win.
#OnThisDay in 2010, Mike Hussey played one of the most remarkable #T20WorldCup innings of all time, smashing 60* off 24 balls to take Australia to the final! pic.twitter.com/OGXIphjW2R— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) May 14, 2019
His knock took Australia from a seemingly unwinnable position into the World Cup final, and bundled out the defending champions in the process.
Hussey likened the emotion of hitting the winning runs to his exploits in the famous 'Amazing Adelaide' Test match in late 2006, and Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal, who bowled the fateful final over, admits he still has nightmares about it.
"I can't believe it's 10 years since that amazing game in St Lucia," said Hussey, speaking to t20worldcup.com this week.
"What a phenomenal game. I think Pakistan had probably outplayed us for most of that game and got themselves into a position to win.
"To hit those winning runs in that game is, to this day, one of the best feelings I've ever had playing the game."
After Michael Clarke had won the coin toss and sent Pakistan in, the Akmal brothers lit up St Lucia as opener Kamran blasted 50 off 34 balls before Umar batted through the innings with four sixes to hit 56 not out off 35 balls.
It set Australia a daunting run chase of 192, and things looked all the more bleak when David Warner was dismissed from the second ball of the innings, cutting a catch straight to Umar at point.
Shane Watson became Mohammad Amir's second victim on 16, and Michael Clarke (17 off 19) and Brad Haddin (25) were both stumped by Kamran, leaving Australia teetering at 4-62 in the ninth over.
Dave Hussey became Abdur Rehman's second scalp when a leading edge popped back to the bowler, sending in Mike Hussey at 5-105. Australia's equation was a daunting 87 from 45 balls.
"I remember when I came out to bat, there wasn't a lot of batting left to come. Steve Smith was still to come, but then we were into the bowlers," Hussey said.
At that stage, Smith was still seen as a leg-spinning allrounder by Australia and had earlier bowled two overs for 23 runs, taking the wicket of Pakistan opener Salman Butt.
"We still needed plenty of runs and it was just about trying to get as close as we possibly could," Hussey continued.
"With about three overs to go we needed about 50 to win, so I'd pretty much given up hope really. It was just a case of let's just swing and see how we go."
At that stage, Mohammad Amir has just claimed his third wicket of the match, dismissing Cameron White who had himself played an important innings, with five sixes in his 43 from 31 balls.
Pakistan turned to Ajmal, who had been so effective at the death for Shahid Afridi's team, including in the previous match against South Africa that secured Pakistan's place in the semi-final.
He looked to be on course to do the same again as he struck with the first ball of the 18th over to have Smith stumped for 5, leaving Hussey with Mitchell Johnson.
Johnson smashed a boundary off his first ball before handing the strike to Hussey who lofted Ajmal into the breeze for a six. Hard running turned the next ball into two before Hussey snuck a leg bye to keep the strike for the 19th over.
"I thought Mohammad Amir bowled a very good penultimate over," Hussey said.
"There was a big boundary on the leg side and hitting into the wind, so it was hard to get him away for any fours or sixes."
Hussey was able to paddle the first ball to the fine leg boundary.
Hussey then showed his class with precision placement and shot selection as, coupled with desperate running, the pair were able to take two from each of the next four balls – although Johnson did need a lunging dive to narrowly survive a run-out chance.
On the final delivery of the over, another precisely placed shot saw a diving Misbah-ul-Haq take the ball over the rope for another boundary.
The pair had taken 16 off the over, leaving them 18 to get from the final six balls.
"Coming into that last over against Ajmal, someone I had enormous respect for … he'd got me out so many times throughout my career, and I had a lot of trouble facing him," Hussey said.
"But the only thing that was in our favour was there was a short boundary on the leg side and a big strong wind pushing the ball that way.
"We needed 18 off the last over and I thought if I could just get a few up into the breeze maybe, maybe they could travel for six and we could get close to winning the game."
Johnson did his job and got off strike from the first ball with a fortuitous edge to fine-leg.
Then, needing 17 runs, Hussey exploded: a massive pull shot up into the breeze sailed over the boundary – 11 off four required.
Down on one knee, Hussey walloped another six that sailed over the long-on fence – and now it was just five runs needed off three balls.
Ajmal, searching for the spearing yorker that had served him so well previously, adjusted his line but could not find the length as Hussey slashed to the off-side, the ball just sailing over the leaping fielder at backward point for a boundary – scores tied, two balls remaining.
Hussey completed the victory in memorable fashion, smashing a third six of the over beyond the long-on fence as teammates rushed onto the ground to mob him. Australia had done it with a ball to spare.
"It was a few more than I would have liked to have chased in the last over but, to hit those winning runs in that game is, to this day, one of the best feelings I've ever had playing the game," Hussey said.
"It was an amazing feeling.
"We didn't get too much time to celebrate it unfortunately, we had to get on a plane and over to Barbados for the final against England.
"Unfortunately, we fell at that final hurdle. A disappointing finish (to the tournament) but that amazing game I will never forget for the rest of my life."