Pakistan vs Australia 3rd ODI: Australia stun Pakistan in nail-biting one-run win

Australia celebrate after whitewashing Pakistan 3-0

Australia celebrate after whitewashing Pakistan 3-0

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Australia completed their 3-0 whitewash of Pakistan with a nail-biting one-run victory in the third ODI in Abu Dhabi.

Despite not having much of an impact with the bat, Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell provided the heroics with the ball instead as his double wicket maiden in the final over of the match carried his side to victory.

However, Australia wouldn’t have won without some major assistance from the batting department, which came from Steven Smith and David Warner, who made 77 and 56 respectively.

But, Pakistan batsman Asad Shafiq deserves some credit as he made a valiant half-century in his side’s agonising one-run loss.

Australia captain George Bailey made the right decision to bat first since Warner and Aaron Finch got the Baggy Greens off to a solid start with a 48-run partnership before Finch was caught by Mohammad Irfan at mid-on off the bowling of Anwar Ali for 18.

Warner and Smith kept the runs flowing with a 54-run partnership, during which Warner brought up his half-century, before he was caught and bowled by Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi for 56 off 63 balls, which included six boundaries and a six.

Warner hit six boundaries and a six during his knock of 56

Warner hit six boundaries and a six during his knock of 56

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Bailey failed to trouble the scorers as he was caught by Ahmed Shehzad at point off the bowling of Irfan for a duck.

Maxwell scored 20 runs before he was brilliantly caught by Umar Amin at deep square leg off the bowling of Afridi.

Phillip Hughes only made five runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Sohail Tanvir.

Hughes reviewed the decision immediately, but replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and going to on hit the stumps. This led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin fared no better as he was run out by Ali for two runs.

Smith went on to score 77 off 105 balls, which included three boundaries, before he was cleaned up by Tanvir.

Smith's excellent form with the bat continued

Smith’s excellent form with the bat continued

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Mitchell Starc mustered five runs before he was run out by Irfan.

James Faulkner managed to make 33 before he was caught by Amin at deep midwicket off the bowling of Tanvir.

Thanks to Warner and Smith, Australia finished on 231/9 off their 50 overs.

Tanvir was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Afridi snapped up two and Irfan and Ali chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 232 to win, Pakistan got off to a great start as Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed amassed a 56-run partnership before Shehzad was clean bowled by Xavier Doherty for 26.

Ahmed ended up making 32 runs before he was run out by Starc.

Pakistan lost another wicket just four balls later when Fawad Alam was the victim of a superb catch by Smith at leg slip.

However, Alam’s dismissal caused a lot of controversy since Smith had darted from first slip to leg slip while the ball was being delivered to Alam.

But, according to the new International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, Law 41.8 states that if the batsman is early to get into position to play the shot, i.e. before the ball reaches him, the fielder is then free to make significant movements.

This proves that Smith’s catch was legal since Alam was had gotten into position early to play the reverse sweep.

Shoaib Maqsood and Shafiq stabilised the innings with a 74-run partnership before Maqsood was caught by Warner at deep midwicket off the bowling of Kane Richardson for 34.

Shafiq went on to score 50 off 73 balls, which included five boundaries before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Faulkner.

Shafiq made a gutsy 50

Shafiq made a gutsy 50

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Afridi only made six runs before he was caught by Smith at mid-on off the bowling of Richardson.

Amin managed to make 19 runs before he was clean bowled by Starc.

Ali mustered 14 runs before he was caught by Maxwell at backward point off the bowling of Faulkner.

Zulfiqar Babar and Irfan held the innings together until they only needed to get two runs off the final over to give Pakistan a much-needed win.

Most people would have predicted that Pakistan would have won since they only needed two runs off six balls, but they were in for a major surprise.

Maxwell cleaned up Tanvir off the second ball of the final over before Irfan decided to swing at everything, but continued to miss.

With two runs needed off the last ball of the match, Irfan finally connected with one, but it was hit straight to Faulkner at cover, who took the catch with ease.

While Australia celebrated their 3-0 whitewash, Irfan could do nothing but look on in utter despair and ponder about what might have been if he had changed his gameplan slightly.

The Australian players mob Maxwell after his double wicket maiden led them to victory

The Australian players mob Maxwell after his double wicket maiden led them to victory

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Richardson, Faulkner, Maxwell and Doherty took two wickets each, while Starc claimed one.

Afridi was gutted to have lost the match, and said: “First of all I want to appreciate my bowling unit, they bowled really well. In the batting, from the first T20 till the last ODI, the thing we are missing is partnerships. We are not finishing properly. This game, we had [an opportunity] to win and we missed the opportunity. The World Cup is not very far, and we have to learn quickly, it’s the most important thing for us.”

Bailey was ecstatic to have completed the 3-0 whitewash, and said: “It’s always tough to win series overseas so it’s very satisfying to win 3-0. We didn’t quite play our best in all three games, but it’s a positive when you find ways to win despite that. It was a lot slower than what we expected and there was a little bit of dew later in the night. Another wonderful innings from Steve Smith and Davey Warner, but I thought we were 20-30 short.”

Maxwell was named Man of the Match for his last over heroics, and said: “I wasn’t going too well until the last over. I got a bit of luck at the end and it was a good win at the end. He [Bailey] was just saying don’t get hit for runs. I’m still looking for the big scores to solidify my spot for the World Cup.”

Smith was named Man of the Series for scoring 190 runs at a magnificent average of 63.33.

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