Pakistan v Australia - Experimental Pakistan succumb to Finch & Khawaja in 2nd ODI
The Pakistan bowling attack was crushed to pieces by the Australian opening pair of Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja, who took their side to an eight-wicket win.
Pakistan 284 - 7 (Mohammad Rizwan 115, Shoaib Malik 60; Jhye Richardson 2-16)
Australia 285 - 2 (Aaron Finch 153*, Usman Khawaja 88*)
Result - Australia won by 8 wickets
Left-handed Khawaja is a revelation for prior to the recent tour of India, he was not a serious contender for a spot in the World Cup squad. Now with over four hundred runs in his last five innings, including 88 off 109 balls with 8 fours, he could be partnering his captain Finch in the tournament in the coming English summer.
After galloping to 152-0 at the half stage in 25 overs, the pair brought up the 200 in the 34th over and Pakistan side were nowhere to be seen in the contest. Glenn Maxwell smashed two sixes off usually miserly Imad Wasim in the 40th over and it was a forgone conclusion. It came down to run a ball in the last five overs but with determined and super-fit Finch still able to hit the pacemen for maximums, Australia were home with 13 balls to spare. His career-best ODI score – an unbeaten 155 off 143 balls with 11 fours and 6 sixes – must rank as one of the best knocks in a run chase in UAE. An inspirational performance by the Australian captain
Pakistan bowling unit was so insipid in the opening ODI, the inclusion of Mohammad Hasnain, the 18-year old paceman was on the cards. A good run in the PSL4 with winners Quetta Gladiators had fast tracked his route to international cricket. Originating from Hyderabad (Sind), Hasnain is an exciting ‘find’ for he has clocked 150kmph and not to mention the x factor. It was a gamble worth taking though the bowler has no senior 50-over cricket to his name, even at domestic level. By not making any other changes in their line-up, Mickey Arthur, has sent a message of ‘no panic’ ahead of the game, the second in Sharjah. Australia enjoying a good run in ODIs, despite the absence of their two world-class batsmen – Steven Smith and David Warner – went into the game, not surprisingly, unchanged.
For the second time in the present ODI series, Pakistan total proved short of the 300 mark, a benchmark in the present day but could not have been too disappointed with the final total of 284-7. A maiden hundred from Mohammad Rizwan, coming in at No.4 was an impressive knock which should have been supported by brisk contributions from the other end. His 115 off 126 balls included 11 hits to the boundaries and his range of strokes and quick running, is suited best to the middle overs. His limited-overs record for Pakistan A and in the domestic cricket is too impressive to be ignored. The main feature of Pakistan’s innings was Rizwan’s stand worth 127-runs for the 5th wicket with skipper Shoaib Malik, who hit 60 off 61 balls. Earlier he had chosen to bat on the Abu Dhabi wicket. The run rate stayed above five runs an over but the acceleration was missing and Pakistan’s total proved inadequate in these conditions.
Australia were a bowler short after their 22-year old paceman Jhye Richardson, dislocated his right shoulder whilst saving a boundary and was unable to return to the field having earlier accounted for both openers – Imam-ul-Haq (0) and Shan Masood (19) – in his 5 overs for just 16 runs. Skipper Aaron Finch, who very rarely comes on to bowl at this level of the game, proved more than handy with his slow left-arm spin by claiming 1-41 off his full quota of 10 overs. Finch is a strong character and it was not unusual to see him lead from the front as Pakistan 150-4 in 29 overs were well on their way to going beyond 300.
Pakistan bowlers are a different breed altogether and seem to be at their sharpest when defending a lowish total, e.g. between 240-260, rather than 300 plus. Today was such opportunity for them to show their skills in the UAE conditions with their stand-in skipper Shoaib too under the spotlight for his handling of bowlers. He surely did not want to go down for the second time in three days. Shoaib opened the bowling with Imad’s slow left arm spin but his shuffling of the bowlers, even with quality Test bowlers - Mohammad Abbas and Yasir Shah - at his disposal, failed to have any impact on the Australian batsmen.
Pakistan - Shan Masood, Imam ul-Haq, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik(c), Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan(wk), Yasir Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Abbas
Australia - Aaron Finch(c), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey(wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa
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