Reigning champions survive Pakistan scare

Saleque Sufi |
Update: 2019-06-13
Reigning champions survive Pakistan scare

Australia Vs Pakistan played at Taunton, Somerset on 12 June 2019

Brief Scorecard:

Australia 307 All Out in 49 Overs (DA Warner 107, AJ Flinch 82, SE Marsh 23, A Carey 20, G Maxwell 20, Mohammad Amir 5/30, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2/70, WahabRiaz 1/44, HasanAli 1/67) beat Pakistan 266 All Out (Imam UlHaq 53, Mohammad Hafiz 46, WahabRiazSarafrazahmed 40, Hasan Ali 32, PJ Cummins 3/33, MA Starc 2/43, KW Ricradson 2/67) by 41 runs.

Reigning Champions Australia survived Pakistan scare in a nail biting contest yesterday at Taunton, Somerset. Thanks to Mother Nature for not letting sky open up. The fascinating contest could proceed without any interruption. Amazing Amir (5/30) magic restricted burgeoning Australia to 307 all out in 49 overs. 

At one stage Australia was looking like scoring 370-380 runs. Pakistan appeared cruising at different stages of their response for overhauling the target fell to the disciplined Australian bowling. Wickets fell every phase Pakistan appeared taking command.  Pakistan tail wagged and kept the match ilively till the dying moments of the game. Their scored of 266. The loss by 41 runs does not reflect the intense contest and thrill the match produced.

The admirers were treated to fascinating nail biting contest.  The fielding made the difference.  Had Pakistan not dropped at least four catches and some wellset batsmen did not throw away their wickets through soft dismissals it could be another story.  Blaster Warner with a scintillating century, Mohammad Amir with brilliant exhibition of top quality pace bowling starred the day. Pakistani tail enders Hasan Ali and WahabRiaz batting aggressively entertained the crowd.

Winning three matches of the four Australia consolidated its position among the top four. Pakistan with 3 points from 4 matches stays at 8th in the point’s table just above South Africa and Afghanistan.

Weather forecast for Taunton, Somerset was for light drizzle through out the day interfering with cricket. There was cloud cover and chilly environment. Pakistan winning the toss put Australia to bat on a green top wicket. Both teams cutting out specialist spinner option played with four genuine pace bowlers. Australia left out Adam Zampa bringing in Richardson. Pakistan dropped Shadab Khan for Shaheen Shah Afridi.  Pakistan X-factor Mohammad Amir looked sublime with his pace and movement. But his mates Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali and Wahab failed to give him required support. Australian openers Warner and Flinch made cautious start. They were aided by some very ordinary fielding .Asif Ali alone dropped two easy catches. Pakistan also looked sloppy in the field. Flinch (87) and Warner (107) took heavy toll of Pakistan bowling. 146 runs were scored in the first wicket partnership by the 23rd over before Flinch was lured to a mistimed drive by Amir. Steve Smith, Maxwell, Marsh and rest of the batsmen struggled against quality Pakistan bowling.

Though all other bowlers leaked runs but very accurate and penetrative Amir with his cross seam fast balls gripping in the surface caused Australia collapse from 3/245 to 307 all out. At one stage it was thought Australia would score in excess of 350. But brilliant bowling by Amir put Pakistan back in the contest. Australian tactics of demoting in form talented batsman UsmanKhawaja to number 6 was also not understood. Pakistan’s ground fielding and catching was very ordinary. No team can create contest against major opposition with poor fielding that Pakistan did. Warner looking a bit out of form in earlier matches. He appeared determined and strong willed on the day. His captain was playing and missing and looking circumspect at the start.

The pair playing aggressively set a solid foundation before Amir removed Flinch at 82. Smith and Warner were expected to consolidate .At that stage Amir in the second spell and WahabRaiz were bowling exceedingly well. Smith did not stay long . Maxwell promoted ahead of informKhawaja also failed to exploit the situation. Marsh included in the match in place of injured all rounder Stoinis also did not last long .Khawaja sent at his unaccustomed position at number six also failed to deliver . At 3/245 Australia was looking set for a sky scraper score. But Amir bowling at pace and using his scramble seam skill played havoc to Australian late middle order batting. Australia was all out 307 in 49 overs.

The late momentum gained by Pakistan raised expectation for a sea saw battle. Aussie pacers Cummins, Starc, Coulter-Nile started bowling fast and hitting the deck at the right length. Blaster FakharZaman was bounced out before he scored. Imam and Babar Azam played some delightful aggressive strokes added 54 runs in quick time before Babar’s promising innings was cut short through another bouncer of Coulter –Nile. Imam continued his sensible knock and with experienced Hafiz set up another partnership of 80 for the third wicket. Imam scored a well deserved half century. The requirement was continue batting sensibly. But two soft dismissals back to back let Australia come back strongly. First Imam unnecessarily attempted hooking Cummins, had a feather touch on way to Carey. Well set Hafiz fell in the trap of part time bowler Flinch failing to strike his full toss over and across.

Experienced Shoaib Malik came and went .Asif known for power hit also failed. But Captain cool Sarfraz with the tailendersHasan and Wahab entertained the crowd with explosive batting. Hasan and Riaz batted superbly smoking boundaries and over boundaries. . At 7/264 in the 45 th over suddenly an improbable victory came within sight. But a late burst by Starc put paid to Pakistan mission wrapping up the innings at 266. Pakistan was still 41 runs behind. Another day better disciplined Pakistan fielding and bowling would win matches against major opposition. Both the team learned useful lessons from the match. The superior fielding and much skillful running between the wickets of Australia made the difference. Four dropped chances proved very costly for Pakistan.

The win of Australia put them in comfortable position in the race. Pakistan compounded their situation. They now need winning four of the remaining 5 matches more specifically against Arch Rival India.

David Warner for his swashbuckling batting (107) was adjudicated as player of the match.

BDST: 1035 HRS, JUNE 13, 2019



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