A clinical Pakistan romped home to a comprehensive nine-wicket win over Australia to seal the three-match One-Day International series 2-1. It is Pakistan’s first ODI series win over Australia since 2002. Pakistan made a superb comeback from having been 1-0 down in the series to beat Australia and take another 10 points in the Cricket World Cup Super League points table.
After the bowlers did a stellar job earlier, having restricted Australia to 210, Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq batted them out of the contest with a 190-run stand in Lahore off just 205 balls. Babar got to his 16th ODI ton in the process, his second successive one, as the Pakistan batsmen’s tryst with centuries continued through the series. He remained unbeaten on 105 off 115, following up on his 114 from the second ODI, while Imam-ul-Haq, who had scored tons in each of the first two ODIs, remained not out on 89. The pair scaled the required runs in 37.5 overs.
Australia struck early to get Fakhar Zaman in the fourth over off a leading edge. They could’ve had Babar in the next over had Travis Head held on to a chance at square leg when the batter was on 1. That was as close to a wicket they could get given how chanceless the partnership thereafter was. Australia, who took an early lead in the series surrendered meekly in the end.
That Australia batted out 41.5 overs earlier is credit to their resilience after having been reduced to 6 for 3, losing their top three batsmen within six overs. The match was a point in case for having bowlers who can also bat with the lower order keeping Australia in the game and taking them over 200. After Alex Carey departed for a 61-ball 56, Pakistan scalped both Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Ellis for cheap with Australia reduced to 166 for 9 with any total beyond 200 looking impossible on a good pitch.
It’s when Sean Abbott switched gears and with Adam Zampa added 44 runs for the final wicket off just 36 balls. As many as 40 runs came in the last 5 overs. Abbott struck six fours and a six in his 40-ball 49, farming the strike in the last-wicket partnership. He built on the platform set by Carey and Cameron Green who put on a stoic resistance that spanned 95 balls for 81 runs for the sixth wicket.
New-ball bursts from Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf pegged Australia back as Pakistan did everything right, including winning the toss. If Shaheen Afridi struck on first ball of the innings to trap Aaron Finch leg-before the ine second ODI, he did it once again, knocking over the in-form Travis Head this time instead. Finch fell next over for another duck as Haris Rauf trapped him leg-before this time as Australia were reduced to 0 for 2. Marnus Labuschagne, who scored a brisk fifty in the last game, departed soon after as Australia found themselves in a spot of bother.
Ben McDermott and Marcus Stoinis resisted the Pakistan bowlers with a handy reviving 53-run stand rotating the strike and getting the odd boundaries. Stoinis was done in by a brilliant catch by Imam ul Haq off a leading edge. It wasn’t until Carey and Cameron Green got together that set the platform for Abbott’s late assault. Mohammad Wasim’s reverse swing troubled the Australian batsmen, returning 3-40, while Haris Rauf returned 3-39.
Brief scores:Australia 210 in 41.5 overs (Ben McDermott 36, Alex Carey 56, Cameron Green 34, Sean Abbott 49; Mohammad Wasim Jr 3-40, Haris Rauf 3-39) lost to Pakistan 214/1 in 37.5 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 89*, Babar Azam 105*) by 9 wickets.