Australia started their tour of United Arab Emirates (UAE) with a convincing six-wicket victory against Pakistan in Dubai. Pakistan struggled with the bat, surrendering meekly for a sub-100 run total, which was duly chased down by David Warner and co. Sandipan Banerjee looks at some of the highlights of the match.
Glenn Maxwell — The bowler: Glenn Maxwell, who is more known for his attacking batsmanship, rediscovered himself as a bowler on Sunday. He started proceeding for Australia, and his off spin swept the Pakistan top order off their feet. They lost Awais Zia, Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Amin early, and all the wickets fell to Maxwell. Zia was caught at mid-wicket, Amin was stumped in the third over and then Maqsood was bowled by Maxwell in the fifth over. Maxwell’s final bowling figures were 3-0-13-3. Even full-time bowlers would be proud of that kind of spell.
Impressive debut by Cameron Boyce: The Hobart Hurricanes leg spinner Cameron Boyce had an excellent debut in international cricket with figures of two for 10 in his quota of four overs. He got the wickets of in-form Ahmed Shehzad and Anwar Ali. It was Boyce’s tight bowling which built up the pressure, as one Pakistani Batsman after the other threw their wicket away. Ultimately Pakistan finished their 20 overs with a score of 96 for the loss of nine wickets.
Raza Hasan and other Pakistan bowlers bring Pakistan back in the game: Young left arm spinner Raza Hasan and other Pakistani bowlers, especially the spinners, brought Pakistan back somewhat in the game by taking three early wickets. Raza, who was making a comeback in the team, bowled brilliantly. He bowled with the new ball and in his four overs only 17 runs were scored. He also managed to take the wickets of Aaron Finch and Steve Smith. Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi also bowled well. Till the ninth over when Australia were straggling at 56 for four, Pakistan were in the game.
The David Warner show helped Australia to go past Pakistan: Though wickets were falling from one end, Australian opener David Warner played his natural attacking game. His aggressive batting kept the team’s run rate well above the required rate. When Australia were tottering at 56 for four in the ninth over, Warner kept on playing his shots, which demoralised Pakistan bowlers and fielders. His 39-ball 53 ultimately finished the game for Australia well in advance. In the context of the turning track and the low scoring match, Warner’s knock was quite special.
Pakistan and Australia will focus on spin when they start a three-match one-day series in Sharjah on Tuesday, despite the absence of top bowler Saeed Ajmal, who is suspended over his suspect bowling action.