After getting beaten by India in the last match, defending champions Australia have come back strongly to secure a fantastic 41-run win against Pakistan at The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton. Australia got off to a sensational start due to Aaron Finch and David Warner’s opening blitz. Finch failed to get to the three-figure mark, while Warner notched up his first ton since the comeback. But then Mohammad Amir led Pakistan’s fightback with a brilliant five-wicket haul which restricted Australia to pretty earlier than what looked before. In the second innings, Pakistan too suffered a middle-order batting collapse and eventually failed to chase down the total.
Amir restricts Pakistan to 307 despite Warner’s century
After losing the toss and being asked to bat first, the Australian team started off their innings in the best possible fashion. The two openers, Aaron Finch and David Warner came out in a dazzling mood and started smacking the Pakistani bowlers from the word go. They laid a strong foundation with a fabulous stand of 146 runs before Finch got dismissed for an 84-ball 82 in the 23rd over.
However, even after his skipper's dismissal, Warner kept playing his natural game and racked up a sensational innings of 107 runs that included of 11 fours and 1 six. But after he got out in the 38th over, the Australian innings never really kicked on as the rest of the batters failed to contribute significant innings and thus from a strong position at 241-3, they crumbled to 307 all out in 49 overs. Pakistan left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir led his team's fightback by picking up a phenomenal five-wicket haul.
Pacers combined performance restricts Pakistan
Chasing a stiff target of 308 runs, Pakistan suffered a healthy blow just at the start of their innings as in-form opening batsman Fakhar Zaman got dismissed for a cheap score. The pair of Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq then joined hands to bail their team out of the troublesome situation with a stand of 54 runs. Babar failed to convert his start of 30 runs into a bigger score, while Imam was looking solid during his 53-run knock before getting dismissed by Pat Cummins in the 26th over.
Along with Imam’s dismissal, Pakistan suffered a huge middle-order batting collapse as they lost their next four wickets in the space of just four overs. The Australian pace bowling duo comprising of Kane Richardson and Pat Cummins bowled very well to help their team attain a strong position in the match. Pakistan was reeling at 200 for 7 when skipper Sarfaraz Khan and Wahab Riaz combined together to lead a solid recovery.
The duo added an explosive partnership of 64 runs to somehow keep Pakistan’s hopes alive in this run-chase. But then Mitchell Starc removed both Wahab and Mohammad Amir in a single over to help his team stage a definite comeback in the game. Wahab played a crucial cameo inning of 45 runs before falling through a caught-behind dismissal. Glenn Maxwell showed his brilliance in the field to run-out Sarfaraz and in turn that brought an end to Pakistan’s innings as they got bowled out for 266 runs in 45.4 overs. For Australia, Cummins finished with three crucial wickets, while Starc and Richardson picked up two scalps each.
Australia: 307/10 in 49 overs (David Warner-107, Aaron Finch-82; Mohammad Amir 5/30)
Pakistan: 266/10 in 45.4 overs (Imam-ul-Haq-53, Mohammad Hafeez-46; Pat Cummins 3/33, Mitchell Starc 2/43)
Result: Australia won the match by 41 runs.
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