Taunton [UK]: Despite Pakistan pacer, Mohammad Amir producing his career-best figure of 5-30, Australia defeated Pakistan by 41 runs in the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup at the County Ground in Taunton on Wednesday.
Chasing a target of 308 runs, Pakistan had a very sluggish start as Fakhar Zaman got out on a duck in the third over bowled by Pat Cummins. Imam-ul-Haq was then joined by Babar Azam and both struck regular boundaries to give their side a good momentum.
Both formed a partnership of 54 runs before Nathan Coulter-Nile got hold of Azam (30). Mohammad Hafeez then took the field and played steadily along with Imam-ul-Haq. Imam-ul-Haq (53) scored his half-century but soon after his half-century, he became a victim of Pat Cummins.
In the very next over, Mohammad Hafeez (46) tried to hit for a six off a full toss delivery bowled by Australia skipper Aaron Finch but gave away an easy catch to Mitchell Starc. Cummins came in to attack again after Finch’s over and took the wicket of Shoaib Malik (0). With this, Pakistan had lost three wickets in three consecutive overs which had put them under immense pressure as half of their squad was back to the pavilion and they only had 149 runs on the board after the completion of 28 overs.
Sarfaraz Ahmed and Asif Ali then took the field but Asif Ali too got out after scoring just five runs. Asif Ali’s dismissal brought Hasan Ali to the field and Hasan Ali started playing furiously from the beginning only. Hasan Ali scored 32 runs off just 15 deliveries which consisted of three sixes and three boundaries. However, Kane Richardson took the wicket of Hasan Ali in the 34th over.
Wahab Riaz then took the field and played brilliantly along with Ahmed. Both added 64 runs to the board before Mitchell Starc took the wicket of Wahab Riaz (45). Pakistan needed 44 runs off 34 balls when Mohammad Amir took the field but in the same over Starc got hold of Amir (0). Shaheen Shah Afridi then took the field but Sarfaraz Ahmed got run out in the next over and consequently, Pakistan lost the match by 41 runs as they got all out on 266 runs.
Earlier, Australia got off to a scintillating start despite the first over of the inning was a maiden over bowled by Mohammad Amir. Both the openers, David Warner and Aaron Finch, batted brilliantly as they dominated the Pakistan bowlers.
Both struck their respective fifties and formed a 146-run partnership. Pakistan got their first breakthrough in the 23rd over as Finch tried to smash Amir but was caught by Mohammad Hafeez which ended his 82-run inning.
Steve Smith then joined Warner and both added another 43 runs on the scoreboard before Smith was sent back to the pavilion by Mohammad Hafeez in the 29th over.
Glenn Maxwell then took the field and scored 20 runs off just 10 balls but Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled him which brought Shaun Marsh to the field.
In the 36th over, Warner hammered a boundary to Shaheen Shah Afridi off his first delivery of the over and completed his century, which was his first since coming back from the ban.
Warner was dropped in the 37th over bowled by Wahab Riaz. However, in the very next over bowled by Shaheen Shah Afridi, Warner was caught at deep point by Imam-ul-Haq which brought an end to his 107-run inning.
Australia were at 243 runs for the loss of four wickets after the completion of 38 overs. After Warner’s dismissal, Usman Khawaja took the field and along with Marsh, formed a 35-run partnership.
Mohammad Amir then got hold of Khawaja, who played an inning of 18 runs. Amir then, in his next over, took the wicket of Marsh (23). Alex Carey and Nathan Coulter-Nile took the field but their partnership did not last long as Wahab Riaz took the wicket of Coulter-Nile (2).
Cummins then accompanied Carey but he too got out in the very next over bowled by Hasan Ali. Mohammad Amir bowled the 49th over and took the wickets of Carey and Mitchell Starc and with this, all the Australian side was back to the pavilion after scoring 307 runs. After getting an impeccable start, Mohammad Amir hindered Australia’s momentum as he achieved his career-best figures by taking five wickets and conceding just 30 runs in his 10 overs. Moreover, Amir is now the highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 10 wickets.
Australia will now face Sri Lanka on June 15 while Pakistan will compete with India on June 16.
Brief scores: Australia 307/10 (David Warner 107, Aaron Finch 82, Mohammad Amir 5-30) defeated Pakistan 266/10 (Imam-ul-Haq 53, Mohammad Hafeez 46, Pat Cummins 3-33) by 41 runs.