Pakistan v Australia 3rd ODI – Cummins punctures Pakistan
The Sheikh Zayed Stadium, in Abu Dhabi, witnessed a rather one-sided contest, as Australia beat Pakistan by 80 runs to seal the series.
Australia 266-6 (Aaron Finch 90, Peter Handscomb 47, Glenn Maxwell 71; Usman Shinwari 1-37, Imad Wasim 1-34, Haris Sohail 1-35)
Pakistan 186 (Imam ul-Haq 46, Imad Wasim 43; Adam Zampa 4-43, Pat Cummins 3-23)
Result – Australia won by 80 runs
Set 267 to win the third game of the five-match series, Pakistan’s top and middle order was not up to the challenge and the team was bowled out for 186 in 44.4 overs. Paceman Pat Cummins with 3-24 and wrist spinner Adam Zampa with a career-best 4-43 to his name, did not let the opposition to come back in the match.
Understandably so, the wo defeats at Sharjah cricket stadium had not gone down well with Mickey Arthur, as Pakistan’s head coach juggles with his options. The 50-over World Cup in England is just over two months away and the present lack of incisiveness with new and old ball of Mohammad Amir is quite likely to have ruled him out of the final squad for the mega event. The head coach and the selectors now with two exciting u-19 kids with good pace and movement – Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain - in the squad should be able to make up their minds on Amir. Not quite the same force, he was in 2010, before his 5-year ban, Amir’s slot could go either to Junaid Khan or Usman Shinwari.
Faheem Ashraf, the bowling all-rounder, has joined six of his ‘resting’ team mates back in Pakistan, perhaps with a ‘thumbs up’ and assurance of his name in the final World Cup squad.
Australia having twice chased totals beyond 280 within 72 hours in the first two matches of the series, were pleased with their momentum going into the third match and indeed going forward into the World Cup. Aaron Finch with two hundreds in as many matches has put on a superb show with the bat, not to mention his inspiring leadership. The credit for Australian team’s hard fought resurgence, following the sordid episode of ball-tampering in 2018 and a series of defeats in all three international formats surely goes to Justin Langer, their head coach. No task seems impossible for him as two great challenges - World Cup & Ashes – await his men in 2019 English summer.
There was no surprise factor in Australia choosing to bat first in third ODI of the series thus denying its incoming pair of Cummins & Jason Behrendorff, first use of a wicket with a tinge of green. With two down and three to play, Pakistan facing extra pressure to stay in the series, brought in the two left-arm pacemen Junaid and Shinwari. Keen to prove their inclusion, both picked up a wicket apiece in their opening spell by moving the ball in the air.
Undaunted by the loss of two wickets, Peter Handscomb smashed four boundaries of Mohammad Hasnain’s over as Australian 50 came in the 11th over and taking the score to 72-2 after 15 and reaching the 100 mark in exactly 20 overs. Two men at the crease with outstanding recent ODI record, had good measure of the front-line Pakistan bowling before an occasional left-arm spin of Haris Sohail send back Handscomb for 47 off just 43 balls. Tight bowling by the spinners, particular Imad Wasim, who bowled superbly whilst conceding just 34 runs in his 10 overs, kept the score down as Australia were 110-3 at the half stage and its 150 did not come before the 33rd over. Yasir Shah, only went for 17 runs in his 5 over spell and also dismissed Finch, out for 90, ten runs short of becoming the first Australian and 11th batsman overall, to score three ODI hundreds in a row. His attempts to break free caused his downfall, having faced 136 balls, in the 42nd over and Australia stood at 188-5.
Glenn Maxwell ‘s presence in the death overs has often rescued Australia from tricky scenarios for he is a dangerous white-ball batsman. Today he reached his fifty off 42 balls with a pulled six over backward square leg off Hasnain, in over no. 46 that went for 17. The length was either too full or too short by the Pakistan bowlers. Bu running him out by wicket-keeper Rizwan could have potentially saved his side, 15-20 runs in the final equation as Maxwell departed, having clubbed 71 off 55 balls with 8 fours and a six. Wicket-keeper, left-handed Alex Carey’s 25 off 21 balls, including a last-ball strike for six off Junaid, taking Australia final total to 266-6.
The raw pace of Cummins made early inroads into Pakistan line-up by sending back Shan Masood, Haris Sohail and Mohammad Rizwan – all three snapped up behind the wicket, to leave the score on 16-3 off 7 overs, amidst some showers. Imam-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik took the score to 73-3 with asking rate now standing at 6.46 runs per over. Two decent partnerships could have challenge Australian total under the lights. Imam battled hard before getting out for 46 off 72 balls with two fours and two sixes to push his team, further on the back foot.
At the half way stage, Pakistan 95-4 off 25 overs and with required run rate now at 6.88 runs per overs, needed to increase the run rate without losing any wickets. All their attempts to do so failed as wickets fell at regular intervals.
The dismissal of Umar Akmal, who never quite got his touch in his 36 off 46 balls, as sixth wicket down at 149 in the 37th over, killed off any remote hope of an unlikely victory. By holing out in the deep, once again, when coming in at No.6 he was expected to bat till the end, Umar has not helped his case for inclusion in the World Cup squad. Left-handed Imad, batted well for his 43 off 53 balls and averages almost fifty with the bat in the ODIs but could not be classified as number six, for the World Cup. Interesting times ahead for both the teams, with another two matches of the present series to be played.
Pakistan - Shan Masood, Imam ul-Haq, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik(c), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan(wk), Yasir Shah, Usman Shinwari, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain
Australia - Aaron Finch(c), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey(wk), Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon, Jason Behrendorff
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