Australia after being put to bat first at Taunton were off to a brilliant start with openers putting on 146 runs for the 1st wicket. Finch came in good with an almost run a ball 82 off 84 balls which had 4 big sixes while Warner smashed some signature powerful shots en-route his solid 107 off 111 balls. The rest of the batsman below them chipped in with cameos as Australia reached a decent total of 307/10 in 49 overs. Australia who were at one stage looking good for 350 odd runs received tight death bowling by Mohammad Amir who came up with career best bowling figures of 5/30 in 10 overs with 2 maidens shutting all the critics in supreme style. Yes he has lost some pace and zing which he had post his scandal but still even a 50% Amir of the past is lethal for the opponents and with a spell like this, it will give him a world of confidence to get back to his groove.
Chasing 308, Pakistan were off to a brilliant start despite Fakhar Zaman falling out for a duck. Some classy surreal shots by Babar Azam and Imam punishing starc with 4 boundaries ensured Pakistan developed a positive momentum which Mohamad Hafeez (46) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (40) rightly tried to carry it along. Hasan Ali (32 off 15) and Wahab Riaz (45 off 39) looked really dangerous before Finch brought a turning point to the game reviewing faint nick of Riaz just before 1 second was left for the DRS!
The wicket of Wahab Riaz ensured Pakistan’s remaining wickets collapsed in the next few minutes with Starc finishing it off with some vicious Yorkers alongwith Maxwell affecting a brilliant run out of skipper Sarfaraz which happened to be the last wicket for Pakistan. Pat Cummins with 3/33 in 10 overs was the pick of the bowlers for Australia.
Australia won the match by 41 runs while David Warner was declared ‘Man of the Match”, the positives in the match for Pakistan was certainly Babar Azam looking in good shape while Amir finding some confidence. Also it was good to see Wahab and Amir fighting it out- the two players whose selection everyone questioned! On the other hand, Pakistan can improve on taking more risks during the death overs, Sarfaraz could have avoided taking a single of the last ball when Shaheen Afridi (the last man was on strike) and took the onus on his shoulders.
For Australia it was good to see Warner and Finch playing their natural game. Finch who has been on and off with his form smashed some good shots while from the bowling department it was good to see someone else apart from Starc taking the responsibility on their shoulders as Pat Cummins looked quite impressive bowling some rigorous tight spells.