Maxwell heroics deny Pakistan first win of the series in Abu Dhabi

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Double trouble: Maxwell defended just two runs in the final over and took the remaining two Pakistan wickets.

A new dawn failed to prevent fresh embarrassment for Pakistan. The last-ball loss to Australia bringing a dead rubber painfully to life.

The target of 232 was enticingly low, at least 50 below par, but somehow, they contrived to fail. Again.

The decision from under-fire captain Misbah-ul-Haq to duck out of the action had threatened to define the third and final one-day international.

The implosion from 126-0 to 215 all out in Friday's deciding second one-day international proved a setback too far. His request to sit out the final meeting of the series at Sheikh Zayed Stadium was duly accepted by management.

This decision seemed an act of mercy for a man under intense pressure.

A tight bowling display while he watched from the stands curtailed any Australian aggression. Only 17 boundaries were struck on a flat pitch that augured so much more, a paltry four of which came from the final 20 overs.

If the absence of Ul-Haq was designed to inspire, it spectacularly backfired.

A scoreless 50th over saw Mohammad Irfan swipe the final delivery high into the air as Australia, staggeringly, dismissed Pakistan for 230.

The Test captaincy – apparently – remains Ul-Haq's for the pair of upcoming clashes between the sides in the UAE, beginning on October 22. Whether the 40-year-old will ever lead his nation again in the 50-over format remains in doubt following the aggregate losses to Australia and Sri Lanka since August.

Only two 50+ innings were registered in his last 10 ODIs, the 15 amidst the chaos of the collapse at Dubai International Stadium exhibiting the decline of the once unflappable batsman. If the end has already come for the Mianwali-native, he bows out with a respectable 40 wins from 73 matches since assuming the role in 2011.

If the demotion is permanent, a replacement will need to be identified soon with February's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand looming.

Stand-in skipper Shahid Afridi offered a confused pre-match interview, reeling off half of the four changes before replying "the rest I don't know".

Aussie opener Aaron Finch's underwhelming spell in the Emirates continued, a flimsy punch down the pitch seeing him depart for 18.

Warner and Steve Smith steadily began to to pile on the runs, taking them to 103 when the former fell. The loss was self-induced again, Warner's face a picture of frustration when caught and bowled on 56 by Afridi.

Captain Bailey went for a duck and Glenn Maxwell soon followed for 20, a repeat of his bravura 81-ball 76 from the previous clash ended by a stunning Umar Amin catch.

Smith remained as anchor but by the time he went for 77 with Australia 199-7, no-one had pushed the accelerator. Phil Hughes (5) and Brad Haddin (2) were dismissed far too cheaply.

Sohail Tanvir (3-40) and Afridi (2-44) were the pick of the Pakistan bowlers. Both bowled tight lines that left little wriggle room, curtailing any momentum.

Only a 42-ball 33 from James Faulkner hinted at what could have been. Mitchell Starc's run out on 7 halted a promising start.

Pakistan's reply to 231-9 started with purpose. Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed reached 56 within 12 overs before a delivery from spinner Xavier Doherty crept through as the former went for a cut.

Panic could have set in when two wickets went at 80. Ahmed was first run-out before Smith took advantage of fresh changes to the rulebook, running from first to leg slip to take a catch from an angry Fawad Alam.

Strong hitting took Waqar Younis' men to 154 before Sohaib Maqsood directed a hook to Warner.

Asad Shafiq fell instantly after reaching his eighth ODI fifty, unsuccessfully reviewing a Faulkner lbw.

As Afridi took to the crease, 72 runs were needed from 96 balls. 'Boom Boom' showed commendable restraint before slicing to Smith for 6.

A steadying 30-run partnership between Anwar Ali and Umar Amin was broken as Starc sent the latter's wickets flying.

Ali (14) soon went to leave his side on 208-8 before Faulkner's failure to swipe the stumps first time and a lack of an appeal for a run-out saved the flailing Tanvir.

Salt was rubbed in the wounds as the bowler took full advantage of his break to smash an enormous six, 10 now being needed from the final two overs.

A first win in five ODI's seemed assured. But nothing seems certain for this Pakistan side.

Tanvir threw his wicket away in the final over, with him going all hope as Maxwell bowled a double wicket maiden in the 50th over to end Pakistan's innings, one run short of Australia's total.

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PCB chief gives Misbah full support as captain

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Looking to the heavens: Misbah-ul-haq (2nd left) is under immense pressure as Pakistan captain.

Beleaguered Misbah-ul Haq won't be forced to stand down as Pakistan captain but the country's top cricket official told AFP that potential successors were already being assessed.

Misbah withdrew from the third and final one-day international against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, after a poor run of form which had coincided with four straight defeats in the 50-over format.

He managed just 67 runs in the 2-1 series defeat in Sri Lanka and nought and 15 in the two defeats against Australia in the current series.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) appointed Misbah as one-day captain for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and reiterated that stance after the defeat in Sri Lanka in August.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said the decision to lead the one-day team remains with Misbah.

"I told him, we appointed you till the World Cup," Khan told AFP.

"We were criticized for it and we will be now, even more, as he has not scored runs. But we remain totally firm that we have put our support behind him and he will lead.

"If he thinks leadership will not deliver, then it is up to him. We told him we will not push you out. This is the view of all three of us — Waqar Younis (coach) and Moin Khan (manager and chief selector)."

Khan said Misbah was determined to put things right.

"If he does, he is back but other names are of course considered as a contingency plan," added Khan.

All-rounder Shahid Afridi, who Misbah replaced as captain in May 2011, led Pakistan in Sunday's final one-dayer and would be the top contender for World Cup in February-March should Misbah stand down.

Khan said that withdrawing from Sunday's game was Misbah's own decision.

"Misbah decided that he needed a break from the rather depressing scores he has had in Sri Lanka as well as here. The management also agreed that if he wanted to sit this out it is his decision.

"No one coerced him. He himself decided that this is the right time for him to take a break and see if he can recover in the Tests.

"He is depressed at the fact that he hasn't been scoring and I found it very noble on his part that he said: 'If the day comes when I get an idea that the team is suffering because of me, then I will myself say, let me go'."

"Misbah says if he is back to form then he'd like to lead to the World Cup," added Khan.

Misbah will skipper the team in the two Tests against Australia which follow the one-dayers. Misbah has captained Pakistan in 76 one-day internationals, winning 40 and losing 33 with two tied and one no-result.

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India vs West Indies: Third ODI cancelled due to cyclone Hudhud

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The third ODI between India and the West Indies, which was supposed to be played in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday 14 October, has been called off after cyclone Hudhud hit the port city, disrupting normal life and leaving the ACA-VDCA cricket stadium in unplayable condition.

Earlier today, the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) informed the BCCI of the state of the pitch and suggested the fixture be postponed.

Indian team manager Dr RN Baba confirmed in a press statement that the game had been called off.

"There is no match scheduled due to prevailing weather conditions," said Baba. "The players will be staying in Delhi only. We had a scheduled flight for Visakhapatnam tomorrow at 12:55 pm in the afternoon but now it stands cancelled."

ACA official CR Mohan said: "We have intimated BCCI about the current situation. The entire ground covers were today blown away in the afternoon after 1 pm when the winds were flowing at a speed of over 150 kmph per hour.

"It was a such a situation where we were not even able to go to the stadium to see what kind of damages have been done. The groundsmen could not be contacted. No way the match could have been possible.

"The hotel where we were staying, we were told by the police authorities to move to the underground level for safety reasons. On Monday, if the situation improves, then along with police we will go to the ground to check the situation.

"We are worried about our ground staff," added Mohan.

The five-match ODI series is currently level at 1-1.

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