Australia beat Pakistan by 41 runs in World Cup encounter in Taunton

Top bowling from Mohammad Amir (5-30) could not save Pakistan from defeat today against Australia
©Reuters
 

Pakistan won the toss and decided to bowl against Australia at the County Ground, Taunton today in their World Cup encounter.

Match Summary

Australia 307 (Aaron Finch 82 , David Warner 107; Mohammad Amir 5-30)

Pakistan 266 (Imam ul-Haq 53, Mohammad Hafeez 46, Sarfaraz Ahmed 40, Wahab Riaz 45; Pat Cummins 3-33, Mitchell Starc 2-43)

Result – Australia won by 41 runs

Scorecard

Full Match Coverage and Highlights

Batting first Australia scored 307 in 49 overs and it would have been a lot more but for the bowling of Mohammad Amir - Aaron Finch 82 and David Warner 107 were outstanding with the bat for Australia and Mohammad Amir 5-30, the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan.

In reply, Pakistan never really got going and lost out by 41 runs, scoring 266 in 45.4 overs - Imam ul-Haq 53, Mohammad Hafeez 46, Sarfaraz Ahmed 40 and Wahab Riaz 45 all got started but were unable to push on ; Pat Cummins 3-33 and Mitchell Starc 2-43 were the pick of the bowlers for Australia.

MATCH REPORT - Salim Parvez

Australia outgun spirited Pakistan at Taunton

Defending champions, Australia showed why they are one of the front runners to reach the semi-final stage in the 2019 World Cup. By beating Pakistan today at Taunton by 41 runs, Aaron Finch and his men are certainly marching forward with more purpose and confidence.

On the other hand, Pakistan, true to its reputation, threw away an opportunity to grab two points, after being set a target of 308 on a flat wicket and a fast outfield. Pakistan cricket team, continues to carry the unpredictable aura After restricting its opponents to 307 all out in 49 , through Mohammad Amir’s superb return of 5-30, it failed to chased down an achievable target.   

Pakistan it seems, is quite comfortable with the tag of unpredictable and is no mood to alter this. That very fact perhaps should now make them a predictable commodity. For ever throwing up mercurial cricketers to the envy of other nations, the present squad too have the likes of Fakhar Zman, Babar Azam, Shadab Khan and Shaheen Afridi with an x factor to challenge the best in the world.

A World Cup pool game between Australia and Pakistan today at Taunton,  arrived at the time with both teams, keen to stamp their authority. The passage to the knock-out stages will be reached after playing a game against all other nine teams. The weather forecast in the south west of England was not promising but fortunately there were no weather interruption today.

Australia with a 5-0 whitewash against Pakistan, few months ago and with the return of David Warner and Steve Smith started the game as slight favourites. Pakistan, on its day we all are all aware, is capable of upsetting the odds. The video footage of 1992, 1999 and 2011 victories over the Aussies in the World Cup clashes could well have inspired skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and his men to have a great game.

Pakistan correctly chose to bowl first in overcast condition though the ball did not swing or seam as much as was expected. The first powerplay – consisting of 10 overs - belonged to Australian as its openers – Aaron Finch and David Warner – gave their side a solid start with 56 on the board. Apart from Amir, the rest of the Pakistan bowlers did offer some easy runs and the Australian batsmen pounced on to those opportunities. Bowling plenty of fire, Wahab Riaz had Finch dropped at first slip in the 11th over and a review overturned against the same batsman in the 15th over.

Finch after being dropped behind off Mohammad Hafeez, hit two fours and a six in the same over to bring up his individual fifty off 60 balls and his team’s total to 100 in the 17th over  of the innings. The partnership grew to 122 after 20 overs but was finally broken in the 23rd over when Finch departed with 82 off 84 balls with 6 fours and 4 sixes, having given his side a perfect start.

Pakistan bowling was lacking the venom, especially with wrist spinner Shadab Khan sitting out. They did not look vibrant as Australia piled on more pressure through positive intent with the bat and in their running to race to 165-1 after 25 overs. It is to be said that both Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell missed out on this wicket with uncalled aggression, allowing Pakistan to breathe. By his own high standards, Warner’s hundred off 102 balls with 11 fours and a six was a slow going. He rode his luck to put Australia in a dominating position and finally sent back for 107 off 111 balls, in the 38th over.

In fact all told Pakistan missed half a dozen catches, though its ground fielding could not be suggested as ragged at all. Despite losing regular wickets, Australia 256-4 after 40 overs, still manged to get to the 300 mark in 47 overs. Amir bowled beautiful line, in his four spells from the Somerset Pavilion End and picked up five wickets that saw his team claiming last seven Australian wickets for 65 runs. Good comeback for Pakistan.

In pursuit of a gettable target of 308, Pakistan responded positively. At the end of the first powerplay its score had reached 51-1. Australia picked up a big wicket of Babar Azam, who had looked so good in his cameo 30 off 28 balls with 7 fours, out to an ill-advised hook shot. Pakistan’s 100 was up in good time – 18.3 overs. The third wicket stand between Imam-ul-Haq and  Hafeez was worth 80 in 14.2 overs. Imam’s dismissal, caught behind down the leg-side, could have been avoided but his 53 was a good contribution. 

The fragility of Pakistan batting was coming to the fore. Australia by claiming Imam, Hafeez and Shoaib Malik within 14 balls had assumed stronger grip on the game and fall of four wickets with 4.5 overs changed the scenario for both sides. At the 30-over mark, Pakistan (160-6) still required 148 runs in the last 20 overs. A tall order and Australia were well and truly in control of its destiny.

Even when things were going so well with only two wickets down, a possibility of a Pakistan batting collapse could have visualised and suddenly the score moved from 136-2 to 160-6 in a matter of 29 balls. It was a painful sight for Pakistan supporters as Imam, Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali, let their side down in a crucial World Cup fixture. Hafeez in particular having looked in good touch on his way to an eye-catching 46 off 49 balls, holed out to the mid-wicket boundary, off a gentle full-toss from Finch’s occasional slow left-arm. He could have won the game on his own.

When all seemed lost, Pakistan tail wagged with Sarfraz (40 off 48 balls), Hasan Ali (32 off 15 balls) and Wahab Riaz (45 off 39 balls) and gave Pakistan a realistic chance of a victory. The target had come down to 79 off the last overs but Mitchell Starc though had other ideas and his two wickets in the end won the game for Australia.


Australia - Aaron Finch(c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey(wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson

Pakistan - Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hassan Ali, Shaheen Afridi

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