Aaron Finch missed out on a chance to create a new record for an Australian batsman but his 90, combined with Glenn Maxwell’s 71 and brilliant hauls from Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa helped Australia prolong Pakistan’s agony in ODIs as they won their sixth consecutive ODI and take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. The 80-run win in Abu Dhabi resulted in Pakistan’s jinx against Australia in ODIs getting extended, having not won a bilateral ODI series against the five-time world champions since 2002. For Australia, their redemption has well and truly begun and they will be heading into the World Cup as firm favourites.
Australia chose to bat but suffered an immediate jolt when Usman Shinwari snapped up Usman Khawaja for 0. Shaun Marsh struck some quick boundaries but when he fell for 14 off nine balls, Australia had stuttered to 20/2. However, Peter Handscomb joined Aaron Finch and the dup proceeded to restore the advantage for Australia. Handscomb was the aggressor as he smashed four boundaries in one over bowled by teenager Mohammad Hasnain. Finch and Handscomb regularly rotated the strike and shared a 84-run stand but the stand was broken when Haris Sohail breached Handscomb’s defences to fall for 47.
Finch reached his third consecutive fifty-plus score but Imad Wasim removed Marcus Stoinis (10) as Pakistan looked to fight back. Glenn Maxwell made a slow start but Finch’s quest of becoming the first Australian player to hit three consecutive fifties ended when Yasir Shah got his wicket for 90. However, Pakistan did not do themselves any favours when Wasim spilled a simple chance off Maxwell on 28 in the 44th over.
Maxwell proceeded to smashed boundaries at will and his fifty, combined with Alex Carey’s cameo boosted Australia to 266/6. Finch’s side had scored 64 runs in the last six overs and Pakistan was under pressure. Imam-ul-Haq started briskly with three boundaries but Shan Masood fell to Pat Cummins for 2. Cummins, who had taken a break for the first two ODIs, continued to cause havoc by getting rid of Haris Sohail for 1. After a short rain delay, Cummins struck again by removing Mohammad Rizwan for 0.
However, Imam looked in good touch and along with Shoaib Malik tried to rebuild the innings. The partnership went past fifty but Maxwell, who had earlier hurt Pakistan with the bat, trapped Imam LBW for 46. When Nathan Lyon sent back Shoaib Malik for 31, the game was up for Pakistan.
Umar Akmal and Imad wasim scored briskly but they were only delaying the inevitable. Jason Behrendorff ended the sold stand by getting rid of Umar Akmal for 36 and Adam Zampa picked up four wickets in two overs to run through the lower order. His haul of 4/43 was the best by an Australian legspinner since Stuart MacGill in 2000.
The win has boosted Australia’s morale heading into the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 while for Pakistan, they have suffered a downturn in their fortunes at the wrong time.