Australia beat Pakistan by 57 runs in the 5th ODI to win the VB ODI series 4 to 1. Here is the full scorecard and commentary.
A blast on Australia day for the Aussies. The fireworks in the day of classic hundreds by David Warner and Travis Head were followed by the fireworks in the night. A record breaking partnership between Warner and Head was the highest Australian ODI partnership with 284 runs to its name. More records could have been broken if Warner had stuck around for a little bit longer but this was not the case. The match was called dead rubber by many pundits but for the Aussies it was a bouncy innings.
Australia finished with a mammoth total of 369 for 7 and looking at the batting of the Pakistanis it looked like a impossible total for them but as we know Pakistan is one of the most unpredictable teams on Earth so the result could still go either way. For the win, Pakistan would have to chase the 3rd highest successful ODI chase but it was just too big of a task despite a century from Baber Azam and and entertaining 79 from Sharjeel Khan. The good news from Pakistan was that they made their highest score of the series with 312 but still lost. They have arrived home with 4-1 in the ODI series and 3-0 in the test series.
The only disappointment for the Aussies was that Warner could not turn his 179 into a 200. It was Warner’s 13th ODI century propelling him to the position of No. 1 ODI batsman. However, the hundred that was appreciated was the maiden one from Head, who replaced Usman Khawaja as the opener for the last ODI and is slowly cementing his position in the Australian side. Head scored a 128 of 137 balls.
Warner fell 6 runs short of the highest ODI score by an Australian – the record is still held by Watson which was a 185 against Bangladesh in 2011. It was visible that Warner was feeling the cramps towards the end of his innings and was finally (for the Pakistanis) out courtesy a slower ball bouncer from Junaid Khan that he slashed at and a good low catch was taken by Babar Azam.
Pakistan had gone 41 overs without a wicket but then got Warner and 2 balls later Smith skied one which was caught by a running Wahab Riaz, who jammed his knee in the ground when diving for the catch. It was a good enlightenment to the poor fielding throughout the series. Its going to be a hard year for Steve Rixon if Pakistan keep fielding like they did in every match against the Australians.
Dropping Warner on the 1st ball of the match – a out swinger of the bowling of Amir – was definitely the turning point even when the journey had just started. 179 runs later the damage had already been done. Another chance was dropped when Amir dropped a sitter. Pakistan did take some catches in the last 10 overs but by now it was too late and damage had already been done.
Australia scored exactly 100 runs of the last 10 overs, but the openers led the path for the huge total. Warner went to a 50 of 34 balls (his fastest in an ODI) without smashing his trade mark six. However, as that hurdle was passed he smashed 2 consecutive sixes of the bowling of Mohammed Hafeez. He continued to smash but on the other end Head payed a watchful innings. Warner reached his 100 (with his patented celebration) before Head could get to his 50. This tells you at the tempo he was playing. Although the difference between strike rate, they both got to their milestones at their 78th ball – for Warner his 100 and Head his 50.
This definitely became Warner’s fastest ODI hundred although he had scored a test hundred before lunch against Pakistan off just 69 balls. With the way he was batting, a double century was definitely on the table as he raced to his 150 of just 107 balls but the cramps were coming in and pain was one of the main factors of his wicket.
Warner scored runs all around the ground with almost an even spread of leg side and off side shot. He struck 19 fours and 5 sixes before his high jumping innings finally came to an end. Head got his 100 in the previous over of his 121st delivery. He played a textbook innings with many of his shots front of the wickets including 9 fours and 3 sixes. He then skied a catch to Hasan Ali. Paksitan had 2 centurions with Hasan Ali being the first who gave 100 hundred off his 10 overs and then there was Babar Azam.
Going against a colossal total like 369, Pakistan needed the right start with a strong start but the loss of Azhar Ali off a LBW to an in-swinger by Mitchell Starc for 6 was not the best start. Enter Babar Azam. Sharjeel and Babar sailed the ship through choppy waters with a partnership of 130 that frustated the Australians. Sharjeel continued his decent form in Australia with his up trend of scores: 18, 29, 50, 74 and now 79 off 69 balls which included 2 sixes but ended his Australian tour when he top edged a hook Starc.
Starc looked dangerous from the start and when he took the wicket of Mohammed Hafeez that theory was vindicated before Shoaib Malik chopped one onto the forearm and retired hurt and did not come back to try to help Pakistan. Babar completed his 4th ODI century and the next ball was gone by a leading edge of Josh Hazlewood for 100 of 109 balls. Umar Akmal a steady innings of 46 of 59 with 7 fours but when he got the required run-rate hit the roof with over 15.
The series was wrapped up and given as a gift to the Australians from the Pakistanis when Mitchell Starc saw the lighting up stumps of Wahab Riaz to finish with figures of 4 for 42. Warner was once again the dominating force in this match but he will rest for the Chappel-Hadlee series against New Zealand. He was the dominating figure in the whole series being awarded the man of the match and the man of the series. The Australian summer was finished with 2 types of fireworks
There is no doubt that Pakistan will need to work more on their fielding as well as adapting to the modern game. We all know that the Pakistani people are very emotional so I wish all the best to the Pakistan cricket team and I hope they stay safe from the general population and the media.
The Cornered Tiger