Pakistan beat Australia by 6 wickets in the 2nd ODI. Here is the full scorecard and commentary.
A bewildered Allan Border, as captain, and a swinging Wasim Akram. This was the set of the play the last time Pakistan beat Australia at the MCG. Also, Pakistan had beaten Australia in January 2005 the last time in any format. They broke both dry streaks by exploiting the spin struggle of the Australians and emerged like a different team from the same poor tour. Imad Wasim, Mohammed Hafeez (captain) and Shoaib Malik spun the Australians to a modest total but not by spinning but by the variable pace.
Steven Smith got the highest score with 60 off 101 balls but he chopped on off a ball from Imad Wasim. Mathew Wade continued his white ball form with a contribution but he could not go ahead with his start.
The Australians left Pakistan only 221 to win with the stand-in captain leading the way with a 72 and a useful 42 from Shoaib Mailk did the job with the winning runs being hit from Umar Akmal. Australia did not use their spinners as effectively as Pakistan as Hafeez took 10 from Travis Head’s first over. This made Smith use only his pace bowlers the rest of the night. Surprisingly, Glenn Maxwell was not given a bowl in this match or the previous one.
Australia had to shuffle their batting line-up due to Chris Lynn’s apparent neck injury so Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh and Head did not adapt to their new positions. The energetic Junaid Khan bowled tidy spells in his first ODI in nearly over a year and a half. The Australians felt his presence early. His first wicket was an edge of the bat of the vice-captain and then got another edge of Usman Khawaja with a fine low catch from Sharjeel Khan.
Directly next over, the new man Mitch Marsh drove with hard hands to cover and was caught by Imad Wasim of the bowling of Mohammed Amir. Amir got another player for a duck, the second time in the series. Smith and Head were left for a rescue mission. Head had a positive start but could not capitalise as well as Glenn Maxwell you came down the wicket and was bowled off his bat with a strong celebration from Imad Wasim as a send off.
Wade and Smith recreated their Brisbane heroics with a substantial partnership but Smith was bowled of an inside edge when he tried to attack Imad with another twist in the innings. Imad’s once again had a great send off. Pat Cummins then escaped a clear edge which the umpire did not notice off the bowling of Junaid Khan of Cummins’ first ball. The bowlers had done their job and now it was the time of the Pakistani batsman to not fall like a house cards but stand strong and that’s what they did like a team.
Australia knew that if they had any chance of winning they had to take early wickets but not everything goes your way does it now? Off the 4th ball of the 2nd innings Hafeez edged one to Smith at 2nd slip but was put down and it turned out to be costly as he went on to make 72.
From there on not many chances were given from the men in green and they built a strong unified innings with Hafeez being the core. They were never pressured by the RRR (required run rate) as they usually are and with this they easily jogged through some harsh spells from Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. Malik’s skills were on show once again after the damage had been done by the Pakistanis. He just missed an outside edge appeal of Cummins. The Pakistan support was immense; they made the loss for Australia even harsher.
The Cornered Tiger