Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia opening batsman David Warner hammered an unbeaten half-century and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell picked up three quick wickets to help their side cruise past Pakistan by six wickets in the one-off Twenty20 International in Dubai.
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi would have been regretting his decision to bat first after opening batsman Awais Zia was caught by debutant Kane Richardson at mid-off off the bowling of Maxwell for three runs.
Maxwell struck again just three balls later when Umar Amin was stumped by Brad Haddin for a duck.
Shoaib Maqsood failed to trouble the scorers as he was clean bowled for a duck to become Maxwell’s third victim of the match.
Ahmed Shehzad scored 10 runs before he was caught by Australia skipper Aaron Finch at slip off the bowling of debutant Cameron Boyce.
Things went from bad to worse for Pakistan when wicketkeeper-batsman Umar Akmal was caught by Warner at mid-off off to give Richardson his maiden Twenty20 International wicket.
Afridi failed to save his team as he was given out lbw off the bowling of debutant Sean Abbott for just two runs.
Anwar Ali mustered five runs before he was caught by Richardson at mid-on off the bowling of Boyce.
Pakistan debutant Saad Nasim was the top-scorer with 25 runs, which came off 32 balls, before he was cleaned up by Mitchell Starc.
Wahab Riaz managed to make 16 vital runs before he was caught by Starc at square leg off the bowling of James Faulkner.
Despite Raza Hasan’s quickfire knock of 13 towards the end of the innings, Pakistan still finished on a dismal score of 96/9 off their 20 overs.
Maxwell was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Boyce snapped up two and Starc, Faulkner, Richardson and Abbott chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Chasing 97 to win, Australia got off to a poor start as Finch was caught by Mohammad Irfan at short fine leg off the bowling of Hasan for five runs.
Maxwell hit 17 runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Afridi.
Steven Smith only made three runs before he was caught by Riaz at mid-on off the bowling of Hasan.
Debutant Phillip Hughes fared no better as he was caught by Maqsood at slip off the bowling of Riaz for six runs.
Warner and Faulkner finished things off with an unbeaten 41-run partnership, during which Warner brought up his half-century.
Warner ended up making 53 off 39 balls, which included four boundaries and three sixes, while Faulkner remained undefeated on seven.
Hasan was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Afridi and Riaz claimed one wicket each.
Afridi was disappointed with his team’s performance, and said: “First of all I want to congratualate Australia. We didn’t play smartly. After the first over we thought we wanted 120-125. But we didn’t play it well. The first six overs are very important. We missed the opportunity and we didn’t read the pitch very well. The plan was simple, go and play ball by ball and 120-125 would have been good. We are looking forward to the ODI series, it’s important because the World Cup is coming. We are all trying our level best to do well with the new combination.”
Finch was pleased to have won the one-off Twenty20 International, and said: “It’s a really nice [feeling]. The way we started with the ball set the tone for the game. We got lucky with a couple but its really nice to win like that. Our bowling was great, I had a little jitter with the bat. But, all’s good.”
Maxwell edged out Warner for the Man of the Match award, and said: “Nice wicket to bowl on. Hopefully I can keep going well since wickets here might be more like this. There’s a lot of places up for grabs, we’re a young side and we try and put our best foot forward. We saw four debutants perform and it bodes well for the World Cup. Looking forward to Sharjah, played a few games for Kings XI in IPL there.”