PESHAWAR: Australia defeated Pakistan easily in the first match of the five-match one-day international series in Sharjah by eight wickets on Friday.
On a good batting track, Pakistan decided to bat first and posted 280 runs for the loss of five wickets. Haris Sohail was the pick of batsmen for Pakistan with his maiden ODI century. He scored unbeaten 101, while Umar Akmal scored 48 on his comeback to the ODI side after two years. Shan Masood, who was on his debut, scored 40. Umar Akmal was a bit disappointed over getting out despite getting a good start. He said after his inning that he was happy over his comeback, but felt disappointed that he missed opportunity to score big.
For Australia, Coulter Nile took two wickets, while Richardson, Maxwell and Lyon took one wicket each.
Australia surpassed the target without much trouble with eight wickets and one over to spare. Captain Aeron Finch was top scorer with 116 runs, while Shaun Marsh scored 91. For Pakistan, Mohammad Abbas, who was on ODI debut, and Faheem Ashraf took one wicket each.
From the very beginning of Pakistan inning, it looked like they didn’t get enough pace to post a massive total. Although they accelerated in the end, but the total proved insufficient.
Finch was declared player of the match. He said after the match that the target was pretty daunting but it played really well in the second half.
“Nice to hit a few in the middle. I think doing it two-down was a real positive for us. The way Shaun played was a huge bonus to take the pressure off me,” he said, adding that the hard work by Australia is finally paying off.
Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik said Pakistan did not take early wickets which cost them. “The way Finch and Marsh batted, they controlled the innings and took it deep,” he said.
He said Pakistan’s batting and fielding must improve. “I would like to congratulate Haris on scoring a hundred coming back from injury. A great sign for Pakistan cricket,” he added.
It was fourth consecutive ODI win for Australia after their series win in India. The second match of the series will be played at the same venue tomorrow (Sunday).