Australia defeated Pakistan by 41 runs on Wednesday in Taunton to register their third win of World Cup 2019. This was a remarkable comeback by Australia who had crashed to a 36-run defeat against India at The Oval on Sunday.
There were several heroic performances from several players. David Warner smashed his 15th ODI hundred and his 2nd in World Cups. Mohammad Amir showed why he is one of the best pacers in world cricket with a haul of 5 for 30 while the Pakistani lower-order gave Australia a real scare with some fireworks. Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz were special with the bat on a day Pakistan’s top-order disappointed.
But a the end, Australia held their nerves in a tense finish.
That’s the game.
Glenn Maxwell with an astonishing run-out to end proceedings. Wahab threatened to do something special for a brief period but the bowlers have done their job it’s a 41-run win for the reigning champions. #CmonAussie #CWC19 pic.twitter.com/xjGInDB7mI
Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 12, 2019
Australia, the defending world champions had set Pakistan a 308-run target and immediately jolted them with an early blow when Pat Cummins removed Fakhar Zaman for a duck in the 3rd over. Babar Azam looked good in his 28-ball 30 and added a breezy 54 for the 2nd wicket but he fell to Nathan Coulter-Nile as Pakistan slipped into further trouble.
But Imam-ul-Haq was looking set to anchor the innings as Mohammad Hafeez came out and played some scintillating shots. The pair brought Pakistan right back into the game with an entertaining 80-run stand. However, Imam-ul-Haq played a horror shot after reaching his fifty.
Had Imam only left that Pat Cummins delivery down the leg side alone, it would have been called a wide. But Imam tried to pull and only managed to get a glove as Alex Carey held on to an easy catch. It was a major blow for Pakistan in the 26th over. In the 27th, Aaron Finch bowled a full toss and Mohammad Hafeez hit it straight down the throat of Mitchell Starc at deep square leg.
In the 28th over, Shoaib Malik fell to a combination of outstanding bowling from Cummins and a stunning catch by Cummins. And when Kane Richardson removed Asif Ali in the 30th over, it was endgame for Pakistan.
Australia overcome Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali scare
Wahab Riaz smashed a 39-ball 45 for Pakistan vs Australia (AP Photo)
Hasan Ali came out and smashed the ball around to briefly give Pakistan hope as Sarfaraz Ahmed watched from the other end. Hasan hit 3 fours and 3 sixes in a 15-ball 32 before Kane Richardson struck again to bring Australia back in.
At 200 for 7, Pakistan needed 108 from 16.1 overs. And if you thought, they had given up hope, you would be mistaken.
Wahab Riaz played one of the greatest lower-order innings for Pakistan in all World Cups. He hit 3 sixes and 2 fours to scare Australia. With Sarfaraz Ahmed, Wahab brought Pakistan really close – the two added 64 in less than 10 overs. Pakistan had genuinely started to believe at that stage till Mitchell Starc got rid of Wahab Riaz in the 45th over who was undoubtedly disappointed.
Starc struck again in the same over to remove Mohammad Amir in the same over and it was only a matter of time before Australia wrapped up victory.
Earlier, it was a tale of two halves for Australia who had been asked to bat by Pakistan after Sarfaraz Ahmed won the toss.
David Warner and Aaron Finch had struggled against India but both men timed the ball beautifully against Pakistan’s quicks.
Warner surprised Sachin Tendulkar with his go-slow approach in Australia’s chase of 353 at The Oval but on Wednesday, he was determined to stamp his authority on the game. At the other end, Finch was more watchful but switched gears as the two men settled in for a long haul.
Mohammad Amir gave Pakistan the breakthrough they were looking for in the 23rd over when he removed Aaron Finch. Even as Warner reached his 3rd successive hundred against Pakistan in ODIs, Australia started to lose their way.
Steve Smith fell in the 29th over. Glenn Maxwell got off to a rapid start but fell to Shaheeh Shah Afridi in the 34th over. Afridi struck again 4 overs later to remove Warner.
But it was Amir who was the wrecker-in-chief. He became the 7th Pakistani bowler to take a five-wicket haul in World Cup history and was the reason why Australia managed only 142 for 9 off 24 overs after scoring 165 for 1 off the first 25 overs.
Australia will next take on Sri Lanka on June 15 while Pakistan take on India on June 16.