Warner hits unbeaten 54 after Pakistan kept to 96/9 in one-off T20I
Pakistan found itself in a tangle against Australian spin in the lone Twenty20 International between the two sides in Dubai on Sunday (October 5), with five of its batsmen falling to spin-bowling as it lost by six wickets.
Shahid Afridi, the newly-appointed T20I captain for Pakistan, opted to bat first, but the move backfired and Pakistan finished on 96 for 9. The Aaron Finch-led Australian side was playing four debutants – Phil Hughes, Kane Richardson, Sean Abbott and Cameron Boyce – and had a few hiccups of its own during the chase, but cruised to a facile win thanks to David Warner’s unbeaten 39-ball 54. The absence of Shane Watson, Mitchell Marsh and Pat Cummins didn’t hamper Australia too badly, but Pakistan missed the services of Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez, as the result was achieved with 36 balls to spare.
Finch, taking over from George Bailey as captain of Australia in T20Is, fell for 5, getting a top-edge, while Glenn Maxwell played his shots before Afridi had him trapped in front for a 10-ball 17. Warner, however, mixed aggression with caution in a knock that contained three sixes and four fours, with James Faulkner (7 not out) for company.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan had all but pressed the self-destruct button with half the side back in the dressing room with the score at 37 in eight overs. Australia started with spin, with Maxwell opening the bowling, and it was a move that reaped rich dividends as the part-time offspinner snared the first three wickets.
Awais Zia, recalled to the side after two years, only lasted seven balls before he was caught by Richardson at mid-off. Umar Amin came in next and danced down the track, looking for a big heave. Maxwell, however, saw right through that and Brad Haddin, the wicketkeeper, completed a straightforward stumping. Haddin missed a chance to stump Sohaib Maqsood in Maxwell’s third over, but the reprieve didn’t prove too costly as the batsman was bowled three balls later.
In walked Saad Nasim, making his debut, with the scoreboard reading 23 for 3. Mitchell Starc tried his best to rattle the 24-year-old with pace, but the batsman, to his credit, remained unflustered.
Finch probably realised it was the ideal moment to throw the ball to a few of the debutants, but Pakistan’s batsmen seemed intent on making the moment all the more sweeter for Boyce, Richardson and Abbott, giving a wicket to each in their first over.
Shehzad looked to cut a delivery from Boyce, the legspinner, but only managed to lob it to Finch at slip. Umar Akmal didn’t bother with the niceties against Richardson. He went for a wild swing and was caught by Warner for 1. And there was no boom-boom from Afridi who was trapped leg-before by Abbott for 2.
All the while, Nasim seemed to be the only one not losing his head. He scored a 32-ball 25, made up entirely of singles and twos, before he was bowled by a yorker from Starc. Wahab Riaz (16) and Raza Hasan (13 not out) and the 20 extras conceded by Australia helped Pakistan reach 96, but even on a spinning surface, it wasn’t enough to test Australia’s batting line-up.
To see the scorecard and review the match in full please click here.