Australia completed their second successive ODI series win against top opposition away from home with an 80-run win over Pakistan in the third ODI in Abu Dhabi, securing an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
On a day that was affected by rain delays, Australia continued to dominate Pakistan as they first posted 266-6, thanks to another fine knock from skipper Aaron Finch (90) and an explosive 71 off 55 balls from all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.
Any hopes Pakistan had of challenging the total were blown away by pace spearhead Pat Cummins (3-24), who was playing his first match of the series. The right arm quick burst through the top order getting late movement on a nippy evening, picking up the first three wickets before the seventh over to end the contest. Pakistan were bowled out for 186 with leg-spinner Adam Zampa taking four lower order wickets.
It was Australia’s second major series triumph following their come-from-behind series victory in India. Here we take a look at how the match unfolded.
Conditions couldn’t have been any more different for the third ODI. While the Sharjah pitch for the first two ODIs was slow with hardly anything in it for the bowlers, the one in Abu Dhabi had some life in it owing to the overcast conditions.
Pakistan bowled first and left-arm quick Usman Shinwari pitched the ball up and burst through the forward push of in-form opener Usman Khawaja. Fellow left-arm quick Junaid Khan too got rewarded for pitching the ball up, getting an inside edge off Shaun Marsh to square leg. Both left-arm pacers were playing their first games of the series.
Australian captain Aaron Finch, meanwhile, was batting at his own tempo. Having hit back-to-back centuries in Sharjah, the opening batsman counter-attacked after the opening burst from Pakistan seamers. He got perfect support from Peter Handscomb as the two added 84 runs before the latter was dismissed for 47 by left-arm part time spinner Haris Sohail.
Finch, however, motored along towards his third straight three-figure score. But as the death overs came around, the pressure of a slowing run rate showed as Finch tried to force the issue against leg-spinner Yasir Shah and was caught at long on for 90 in the 42nd over with the Aussies struggling at 188-5.
MAXWELL TAKES OVER
Australia looked liked finishing just around the 240-250 run mark when Maxwell (71 off 55 balls) opened up. The Big Show super-charged the innings in the 46th over by spanking young quick Mohammad Hasnain for a sliced four and pull six off successive balls. While he got run out by the keeper with two overs to go, Alex Carey hit a six off the final ball to take the total well past the par score in Abu Dhabi of 250.
CUMMINS LETS LOOSE
Fast bowler Cummins was playing his first match of the series and looked fired up, bringing his form from the India tour to the UAE. With the wicket reasonably freshened up due to intermittent rain, Cummins had Pakistan’s batsmen hopping around.
He banged the ball into the wicket and got enough movement and carry to keep the slips interested. Bowling from round the stumps, Cummins got the ball to move away after pitching, getting left-handed Shan Masood and Sohail caught at slip.
Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan got the ball of the match, Cummins pushing the ball in and curving it away to get a faint outside edge.
SPIN IS IN
At 16-3, the match was effectively over. Pakistan were hoping to at least get some runs under the belt of the lower order batsmen but Australia spinners Nathan Lyon (1-48) and Maxwell were getting appreciable purchase.
Maxwell had opener Imam-ul-Haq lbw for 46, capping a stunning day in the field and establish himself as the top match-winner in the Australian side and even world cricket.
Leg-spinner Zampa (4-43) finished off the tail complete the formalities.
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