It was the 10-year anniversary of the Dubai Cricket Stadium. A decade ago Pakistan and Australia kicked things off at the Dubai International Stadium.
On Friday, both teams were facing each other once again and this time, it was Australia who prevailed in a bizarre run-chase by Pakistan where the hosts lost by six runs despite having two batsmen score centuries.
Australia batted first and posted 277-7, thanks to a stroke filled 98 from all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.
Pakistan were forced to make a couple of changes, with captain Shoaib Malik ruled out due to a bruised rib and batsman Abid Ali making his ODI debut after regular opener Imam-ul-Haq became unavailable due to fever.
The last-minute inclusion of Abid proved to be a blessing in disguise as he smashed a century (112) on debut to anchor Pakistan’s run chase.
He got fine support from wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan (104) but a shockingly poor last 10 overs from Pakistan and sensational bowling and fielding from Australia saw Pakistan restricted to 271-8. Seamer Nathan Coulter-Nile was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-53.
AUSSIES LOSE WAY AFTER GOOD START
It was an indifferent first half of their innings by Australia. After openers Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch put on a fifty-run opening stand, Australia lost their way by the middle of the innings.
Stand-in captain Imad Wasim (2-56) accounted for in-form Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb while leg-spinner Yasir Shah, finally coming into his own, bowled Marcus Stoinis with a googly as Australia got stuck at 101-4.
THE BIG SHOW
After Khawaja was out for 62, Australia’s innings was in a precarious position at 140-5. All-rounder Glenn Maxwell, probably in the form of his life, took the match by the scruff of the neck, launching Pakistan bowlers to all corners of the ground.
Maxwell walked around the crease and had no trouble reverse scooping fast bowler Usman Shinwari. He was just two away from a deserved century but he was looking at quick runs. In the final over of the innings, Maxwell tried to steal a second but was run out by some distance.
His partner Alex Carey had reached his maiden fifty by that time and the two put up 134 for the sixth wicket.
Fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile castled opener Shan Masood and it looked like Australia would be all over Pakistan’s batsmen in the second innings.
But opener Abid – who holds the record for the highest List A score by a keeper batsman of 209 – played the conditions beautifully. There was hardly anything on offer for the bowlers and the right-handed batsman played some exquisite cover drives and pull shots to keep the run rate ticking over.
Once he got the company of keeper Rizwan, Abid opened up and started to milk the bowlers. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon got sharp turn early on but that didn’t culminate in a wicket as Pakistan took the match deep.
LATE HICCUP, PAKISTAN IMPLODE
Mind boggling! Four 100s in the series. All in the losing cause. This needs a serious brainstorming. Every time Pakistan batsman scores a 100 he seems behind eight the ball. Shocking to say the least. #PakvAus— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) March 29, 2019
As Abid neared his ton on debut, there was a moment of scare as Adam Zampa appealed for an lbw which was overturned on review. He went on to reach three figures, becoming just the third Pakistan batsman to score a ton on ODI debut.
The equation seemed like a walk in the park – 66 in the final 10 overs with a centurion and another approaching three figures at the crease. But from there, things unravelled for Pakistan.
Abid was caught slog sweeping Zampa to long on and then in perhaps the momentum changing moment of the match, new batsman Umar Akmal played an ugly swipe to get bowled for seven.
25 were needed from the last three overs as Rizwan completed his century. But seamer Kane Richardson conceded just five runs in the 18th over and also got the scalp of captain Wasim as the equation quickly became 17 off the last over.
Stoinis bowled the final over and effectively ended the match when he had Rizwan caught at deep square leg. Shinwari hit his first ball for a six down the ground and got out the next ball as the equation became eight needed of the last ball. It was the seventh straight ODI win for Australia.
Teenage fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain’s meteoric rise continued as he earned his Pakistan cap during the second ODI against Australia in Sharjah on Sunday.
After impressing for Quetta Gladiators in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League, Hasnain looked destined for greater things and an international call-up was the next logical step.
The raw pace of Hasnain had impressed many during the PSL and he was quickly rewarded with a call-up to the national side for the ODI series against Australia.
The 18-year-old got his big break on Sunday, making his debut in the second game in Sharjah. However, that’s where the good news ended for Hasnain as it turned out to be an utterly forgettable day for Pakistan bowlers with Australia captain Aaron smashing an unbeaten 153 to steer a comfortable chase of 285 with eight wickets in hand.
Here we take a close look at Hasnain’s ODI debut.
Pakistan had runs on board. But in a strategic error, captain Shoaib Malik introduced the raw quick only after 10 overs, by which time Australia were already 48-0. Hasnain had captain Finch in all sorts of trouble, peppering him with the short ball on a slow surface. Had he bowled with the new ball, Hasnain might have dismissed Finch. Instead, Aussie openers Finch and Usman Khawaja raced to a double century stand.
Hasnain’s bouncers were spot on. He hit Finch on the badge the second ball of the 13th over and generally had the opener in a tangle while handling the short stuff. He nudged close to 150kph and showed decent control with the ball as well. He beat Finch outside off stumps towards the end of the innings even after the batsman had crossed three figures.
Khawaja’s conversion to white ball cricket on display. It seems Australia will overhaul the target with plenty to spare. Hasnain despite all his talent I believe is fragile. His action will need expert modifications to avoid injuries without compromising his speed. @iRashidLatif— Dr. Nauman Niaz (@DrNaumanNiaz) March 24, 2019
Hasnain has pace, there is no doubt about that. But in international cricket, you need a bit more than that as a bowler. The young quick needs to learn more about the art of taking wickets. However, the slow surface in Sharjah did Hasnain no favours. Hopefully, there will be more wickets to show for his efforts in his next game.
Pakistan‘s legendary bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis received the country’s second-highest civilian award – the Hilal-e-Imtiaz – on Saturday.
The Pakistan government conferred the award on the occasion of Pakistan Day. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah also received the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s third-highest civilian award.
Shah took to Twitter to thank the government for giving him the award.
“Pakistan, thanks again for the honor of Sitar-e-Imtiaz. I am deeply humbled,” he tweeted.
Mere watan— Yasir Shah (@Shah64Y) March 23, 2019
Or pyar tujh pe nisaaar ker don!
On #PakistanDay let's revive our pledge to serve this beautiful country of ours with all our might, grit & determination.
Pakistan, thanks again for the honor of #SitareImtiaz. I am deeply humbled. #PakistanZindaabad pic.twitter.com/XfeZ0lLTjZ
Upon the announcement of the decision by the government, the Pakistan Cricket Board had hailed the players for their contribution to the game.
“Wasim and Waqar are highly-respected commentators and have played their role in enhancing the image of Pakistan and cricket as broadcasters, while Yasir has had a lion’s share in Pakistan’s major Test wins in the recent past.”
Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis receiving the Hilal-i-Imtiaz which is the second highest Pakistani civilian award and is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their fields and that have led to international recognition pic.twitter.com/ABW25h0fz6— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) March 23, 2019