Usman Khawaja and Australia's consistent top order helped them secure a 5-0 whitewash against Pakistan. (Image credit: ICC Twitter)
Australia withstood some wonderful hitting from from Haris Sohail (130) and Imad Wasim (50*) as they won the fifth and final ODI against Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium by 20 runs to achieve a 5-0 whitewash. Australia's consistent top-order, led by Usman Khawaja's 98 and fifties from Aaron Finch (53), Shaun Marsh (61) and Glenn Maxwell (70) helped the visitors pose a comfortable total and it allowed the bowlers to help the side register their eighth straight ODI win. This was the first time since 2013 that Australia had achieved a 5-0 whitewash which was against the West Indies but that was at home. This was the first time in 11 years that Australia had secured a 5-0 whitewash overseas, which was also against the West Indies in 2008.
Pakistan chose to bowl but yet again, their bowlers struggled for penetration. Finch, who has been in magnificent form in this series, started off confidently again with a couple of boundaries but Khawaja started off in grand fashion with three boundaries off Mohammad Abbas. He continued to punish Pakistan with two boundaries off Junaid Khan. The left-hander notched up his 10th fifty and both batsmen maintained a consistent scoring rate. Finch, who had scores of 116,153*,90 and 39, hit yet another fifty but the 134-run stand ended when Usman Shinwari breached his defences with an inswinger for 53.
Shaun Marsh started confidently and raced away to yet another fifty while Khawaja neared yet another ton. However, on 98, he mistimed a flick off Shinwari and was caught by Yasir Shah at midwicket. However, the left-hander ended his tours of India and Pakistan on the ultimate high, managing scores of 50,38,104,91,100,24,88,0,62 and 98 in the 10 ODIs in India and Pakistan.
Glenn Maxwell, who was unlucky to miss out on his ton in the previous match, started off in grand style by hammering four boundaries in two overs. Maxwell hammered the Pakistan bowlers in the death, launching a four and a six each off Junaid Khan and Mohammad Abbas. Although Marsh fell for 61, Maxwell slammed a fifty off 27 balls and he continued to tear the Pakistan bowling apart. Although Pakistan fought back with five wickets in two overs, Maxwell's assault resulted in 107 runs in the final 10 overs and Australia ended on 327/7.
In response, Pakistan lost Abid Ali, who had scored a century on debut in his previous match for 0 in the first over to Jason Behrendorff. However, the hosts staged a fightback with Shan Masood and Haris Sohail turning the momentum with some consistent hitting. Both batsmen reached their fifty but Adam Zampa broke the 102-run stand when he trapped Masood LBW for 50. Sohail continued on his merry ways but when Maxwell got rid of Mohammad Rizwan (12), the pressure mounted.
Umar Akmal gave Sohail good company and they stitched a 100-run opening stand. Sohail went past his second century in the series but the killer blow came in the 40th and 41st over when Umar Akmal mistimed a lofted shot to long on to fall for 43 but Behrendorff got the big wicket of Sohail for 130 when he sliced a short ball to backward point. Pakistan lost total momentum and despite some big hits from Wasim, Pakistan fell 20 runs short.
In 2018, Australia had not won a single ODI bilateral series and were been written off as World Cup contenders. However, eight consecutive wins and two bilateral wins in India and Pakistan, the five-time world champions are making a big statement ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England.