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 while their conquerors faced an anxious wait in Colombo.

Pakistan also reached the last four after South Africa defeated India this evening, but Australia successfully booked their place in the last four as they edgily reached their qualification target of 112 runs.

Their final score of 117 for seven was nowhere near enough to win the match, with Pakistan making 149 for six in the first innings.

Australia skipper George Bailey won the toss and opted to field first, Mitchell Starc making good on that call when he removed the dangerous Mohammad Hafeez for four with the first ball of the second over.

The left-armer should have added the scalp of Nasir Jamshed for a duck two deliveries later, but he was dropped by Glen Maxwell at slip.

Jamshed was soon off the mark and a couple of quick boundaries by Imran Nazir got Pakistan's innings going.

The on-song Shane Watson accounted for Nazir (14) just before the end of the powerplay, but Jamshed continued compiling runs steadily alongside Kamran Akmal.

Jamshed struck Pat Cummins for the first six of the day in the 11th over and followed with a second off Xavier Doherty moments later.

Four more off Brad Hogg brought up Jamshed's 50 and Akmal clubbed a six of his own off the veteran spinner.

Doherty eventually prised out Jamshed for 55 and Starc returned to remove Akmal and Shahid Afridi as he returned three for 20.

Only Abdul Razzaq, with 22 off 17 balls, made a significant contribution in the closing overs.

Australia's dangerous opening pair failed a trial by spin, both Watson and David Warner lbw for eight to Raza Hasan and Hafeez respectively.

Number three Mike Hussey provided the backbone of the innings, making 54 not out in 47 balls, including the boundary that ensured his side would continue in the competition.

But he was the only man to get to grips with the Pakistan attack.

Bailey hit a four and a six before falling for 15 to Saeed Ajmal, who also deceived Matthew Wade and Cummins with successive balls.

Hafeez and Hasan finished with with two wickets apiece as Cameron White and Maxwell also fell to turn.