A century from Aaron Finch and a commanding 91 not out by Shaun Marsh ensured Australia chased down Pakistan’s respectable total of 280 runs with an over and eight wickets to spare.
Opting to bat first, Pakistan ensured a steady start until Imam-ul-Haq and Shan Masood fell victim to Nathan Lyon and Nathan Coulter-Nile to leave Mickey Arthur’s men at 78-2 after 18.5 overs.
Haris Sohail and wicketkeeper Umar Akmal then combined to put on 98 runs on the board. The Aussies found it hard to break this solid partnership, with the likes of Jhye Richardson going for almost eight an over – expensive figures, given the state of the game and type of wicket.
Eventually, Coulter-Nile found the breakthrough after he had Akmal caught out by Finch. Captain Shoaib Malik then took the crease, only to be bowled out by Glenn Maxwell in the very next over.
Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim added 28 runs each to help Sohail take Pakistan’s total to 280 runs in the 50 overs. Sohail remained unbeaten on 101 and claimed his maiden ODI century in the process.
Usman Khawaja and Finch provided the Aussies with a strong opening, putting on a 63-run partnership for the first wicket. In the 12th over, Khawaja fell victim to medium pacer Ashraf after scoring a steady 24 runs off 30 balls.
Marsh made his way to the crease to architect Australia’s win, while putting on a long stand with Finch. The duo would then go on to take the game away from Pakistan with a 172-run partnership that lasted for about 31 overs.
The bowlers – particularly Mohammad Amir and Yasir Shah who bore the brunt of Australia’s attack – were unable to provide Pakistan with the game-changing turnaround that they desperately needed.
In the 53rd over, Mohammad Abbas sent Finch back to the pavilion but the damage was already done. The Aussie captain managed to garner 116 runs off 135 balls in his majestic innings that consisted of eight fours and four sixes.
With just 46 needed from 45 balls, Marsh and Peter Handscomb ensured the Aussies did not have to break sweat and achieved the target with one over to spare.
Finch came clutch for Australia to deny Pakistan an opening day win. The second ODI will be played at the same venue on Sunday.
Know more about Sport360 Application