Pakistan 171-6 (Kamran Akmal 48, Hopes 2-22) beat
Australia 168 (Hopes 48no, Shahid Afridi 6-38) by four wickets
Shahid Afridi returned career-best figures of six for 38 and smacked 24 in 16 balls as Pakistan beat Australia by four wickets in the first One Day International at Dubai Sports City.
Afridi's excellent effort helped bowl Australia out for 168 and Pakistan reached their victory target with more than five overs to spare.
Australia welcomed back opener Shaun Marsh and all-rounders Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson and handed a recall for bowler Stuart Clark before they won the toss and chose to bat but never looked like making the 50 overs mark once Brad Haddin and Watson were disissed for 40 by leg-spinner Afridi.
Marsh made 16 runs, during the course of which he picked up an injury and had to use a runner, before he was run out by Salman Butt and Nasir Jamshed. Haddin and Watson added 44 for the second wicket, hitting sevn boundaries between them as pace bowlers Umar Gul, Shoabi Akhtar and Iftikhar Anjum were unable to make much impression.
Afridi then combined with off-spinner Saeed Ajmal to slash through Australia's batting with captain Michael Clarke (4), Symonds (2) and Callum Ferguson (2) all caught cheaply before Nathan Hauritz (1), Nathan Bracken (1) and Stuart Clark (2) were all bowled, Hauritz by Ajmal, the other two by Afridi.
Australia plunged from 95 for one to 122 for nine before a late rally from James Hopes kept Pakistan waiting for the final wicket. Hopes hit an unbeaten 48 in 46 balls, thumping five fours and a six before Ben Hilfenhaus was bowled by Gul in the 39th over.
With opener Nasir Jamshed unable to open the innings, Kamran Akmal joined forces with Salman Butt at the top of the order, and after Butt fell to Hilfenhaus for five, Akmal played a key role in keeping the innings on track, making 48 in 62 balls with nine fours.
Captain Younus Khan was one of two wickets for Hopes, making just 11 before innings of 24 from Shoaib Malik, 30 not out from Misbah-ul-Haq and Afridi's typically belligerent effort kept guided Pakistan towards victory.
Jamshed eventually came in at number seven only to be bowled by Symonds for nine but there was to be no way back into the match for Australia, Gul making an unbeaten eight to accompany Misbah, who faced 68 balls in all, to the end of the game.
The series has been moved to the United Arab Emirates after the terror attacks on the Sri Lankan players in March and the two sides meet for the first time in four years in a bilateral ODI series.
© Cricket World 2009