SHARJAH: Aaron Finch struck back-to-back centuries to lead Australia to another thumping eight-wicket victory over a hapless Pakistan in the second one-day international in Sharjah on Sunday.
The Australian skipper smashed 143-ball 153 not out for his 13th ODI hundred — also his highest score in ODIs — to anchor Australia’s comfortable chase of a 285-run target in 47.5 overs which gave them a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Finch, who scored 116 in Australia’s eight-wicket win in the first game at the same venue on Friday, put on a solid 209-run opening wicket stand with Usman Khawaja who made 109-ball 88.
Finch struck six sixes and 11 boundaries in a dominating innings, improving on his previous highest one-day score of 148 against Scotland at Edinburgh in 2013.
The victory came in the 100th one-day international match between the two countries.
Finch admitted the start was tough. “On a wicket like that, you can’t afford to take it too deep with new batters,” he said. “When you come in, it’s tough to bat at first. I just wanted to get through Imad (Wasim).
“It’s hard to take a risk off him. I just hung in there as long as I could.”
Pakistan had replaced fast bowler Mohammad Amir with Mohammad Hasnain for rookie 18-year-old’s first one-day and chose an inexperienced line-up, having already rested six main players from the series.
Finch and Khawaja thrived against the novice attack, with Finch striking two sixes in the final overs while Khawaja’s knock had eight boundaries.
Finch completed his hundred with a couple off Hasnain on his 97th ball, making successive hundreds for a second time in his career. He scored consecutive hundreds against England in Australia last year.
Khawaja fell to leg-spinner Yasir Shah with 76 needed while Glenn Maxwell cracked two sixes in his 19 before he was run out.
Pakistan’s stand-in captain Shoaib Malik rued the lack of early wickets. “To be honest, I think early strikes in our bowling is what we are lacking,” he said. “Overall, there are positives as we fought until the last ball. We are testing our bench strength.”
Pakistan owed their total of 280-7 to Mohammad Rizwan’s maiden century.
Rizwan, only playing because regular keeper and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has been rested for the series, added 52 for the third wicket with Haris Sohail (34) and an invaluable 127 for the fifth wicket with Shoaib Malik.
Imam-ul-Haq b Richardson 0
Shan Masood c Marsh b Richardson 19
Haris Sohail c Carey b Finch 34
Mohammad Rizwan c Maxwell b Coulter-Nile 115
Umar Akmal c Handscomb b Lyon 16
Shoaib Malik c Maxwell b Zampa 60
Faheem Ashraf c Handscomb b Coulter-Nile 14
Imad Wasim not out 19
Yasir Shah not out 1
EXTRAS: (b 1, lb2, w 3) 6
TOTAL: (for seven wkts; 50 overs) 284
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-0, 2-35, 3-87, 4-112, 5-239, 6-254, 7-266
BOWLING: Richardson 5-2-16-2, Coulter-Nile 7-0-52-2 (2w), Stoinis 6-0-40-0 (1w), Lyon 10-0-64-1, Zampa 10-0-57-1, Finch 10-0-41-1, Maxwell 2-0-11-0
A Finch not out 153
Usman Khawaja c Imam b Yasir 88
G. Maxwell run out 19
S. Marsh not out 11
EXTRAS: (b3, lb7, w4) 14
TOTAL: (for two wkts; 47.5 overs) 285
FALL OF WICKET: 1-209, 2-241
BOWLING: Imad 8-1-60-0 (2w), Abbas 7-0-38-0 (1w), Ashraf 9.5-0-45-0, Hasnain 9-0-54-0, Yasir 10-1-60-1, Sohail 4-0-18-0
RESULT: Australia win by eight wickets
Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2019