Taunton : David Warner brilliant century 107 off 111, skipper Aaron Finch 82 off 84 and their first wicket 146 run stand and Pat Cummins 3/33 helped Australia beat Pakistan by 41 runs in the ICC Cricket World Cup here on Wednesday.
Earlier, Pakistan won the toss and opted to field put in Australia to bat.Australian openers skipper Aaron Finch and David Warner gave a blistering start adding 146 run stand for their first wicket smashing the bowlers towards the boundaries.Mohammad Amir gave a breakthrough after scalping wicket of skipper Finch at 146/1 in the first ball of the 23rd over after being caught off by Mohammad Hafeez. Finch 82 came in 84 balls (6 fours 4 sixes).
With Finch's exit Steven Smith came in and along with Warner kept the flow of runs to continue putting up 43 runs for their second wicket stand.Australia's second wicket fell when Steven Smith was caught by Asif Ali in Mohammad Hafeezs spell in the 29th over when score read 189/2. Smith scored 10 off 13 (1 four).After Smith departure Maxwell took charge and with Warner added 34 runs for the third wicket. But Maxwell stay was short and after scoring quick 20 off 10 ( 2 fours and a six), threw his wicket to Shaheen Shah Afridi in the 34th over at 223/3.
Maxwell gone then came Marsh and along with Warner added 19 runs for the fourth wicket stand.In the 36th over Warner completed his century after hitting Shah Afridi for four his first since ban and bringing his 15th ODI century thus equalling Shikhar
Dhawan's record and in all-time record now stands jointly third in the line-up.
However, in the 37th over Warner was dropped in Wahab Riaz spell at third man by Asif Ali. But soon was sent back in the 38th over after being caught at deep point by Imam-ul-Haq in Shaheen Shah Afridi's spell at 242/4.Warner put brilliant 107 off 111 balls (11 fours 1 six). After Warner going out Marsh and Khawaja piled up 35 runs for the fifth wicket.
With Khawaja going out in 43rd over in Mohammad Amir's spell at 18 off 16 with 3 fours. After Khawaj that there was small partnership and wickets kept falling at regular intervals.Australia lost its last wicket in form of Starc 307/10 caught at long on by Shoaib Malik in Mohammad Amir spell with one over to spare. Chasing a target of 308 to win Pakistan were all out for 266 in 45.4 overs. Babar Azam after contributing 30 off 28 smashed 7 fours before send off in the 11th over Coulter-Nile at 56/2.
After Azam, Mohammad Hafeez and Imam-ul-Haq further played an important role in adding 80 runs for the third wicket.Imam-ul-Haq who was playing sensibly staying at the other end rotating strike had to go after Cummins gave a breakthrough in the 26th over caught behind by keeper Carey. Haq scored 53 off 75 with 7 fours.Mohammad Hafeez who was posing a threat to Australian bowlers had a huge relief after he went down in the 27th over bowled by Finch when Pakistan score read at 146/4.
Hafeez 46 off 49 included 3 fours and a six. Then Shoaib Malik was sent for a duck in the 28th over in Cummins spell.With Shoaib gone Asif Ali stayed for short scoring 5 runs when bowled out by Richardson in the 30th over. Pakistan wickets kept falling at regular intervals after third wicket stand between Mohammad Hafeez and Imam-ul-Haq.Then for seventh wicket Sarfaraz Ahmed and Hasan Ali put a useful 40 run taking Pakistan closer to victory.
But Hasan Ali after scoring quickfire 32 off 15 ( 3 fours and 3 sixes) was back in the pavillion in the 34th over when bowled by Richardson.With Wahab Riaz and skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed 8th wicket stand of 64 runs Pakistan smelled victory much closer, however their hopes came to the end after Wahab was the first to go in 45th over and then Sarfaraz in 46th over. Wahab 45 off 39 ( 2fours and 3 sixes).
In the end tail enders tried their best but Starc sent Mohammad Amir in 45th over and then Richardson of Shaheen Shah Afridi in 46th over thus bundling Pakistan for 266 all out in 45.4 overs.David Warner was awarded Man of the Match for his brilliant century 107.Pat Cummins 3/33, Starc 2/43, Richardson 2/62, Coulter-Nile 1/53, Finch 1/13 were the wicket-takers for Australia. (UNI)