Australia and Pakistan played out a thriller at Taunton, with the weather relenting just enough to get this crucial 2019 Cricket World Cup group game in, whilst washing out those around it.
The game was a real see-saw battle which both teams could ill afford to lose – but in the end, the 307 total posted by the Aussies was enough to get them over the line and claim a vital two points, with Pakistan rueing what could – maybe should – have been.
Pakistan won the toss and, with what seems to be the norm in this World Cup, elected to field first. Not for the first time either though, they saw their opponents compile a very testing score – Australia eventually being bowled out for 307, on the back of a superb century from David Warner (above) – his first century since his international ban. Warner racked up 107 runs from 111 balls and shared an opening wicket stand of 146 with Aaron Finch (82) which set the tone for what looked like being a colossal score.
But, as they often do, Pakistan fought back, with Mohammad Amir (above) leading the way – finishing with figures of 5/30 from his ten overs as Pakistan took all ten Australian wickets for 307 – who were at one stage at 223/2. However, even with the superb bowling on show by the tenacious Pakistan attack at the end of the innings, it was a total helped along by some poor fielding – missed catches, overthrows, mis-fields – notwithstanding some very questionable field placements and positioning by captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.
It ultimately proved very costly for Pakistan, as whilst always in the hunt, with fine knocks from Imam ul Haq (53), Mohammad Hafeez (46) and Wahab Riaz (45), Pakistan were always chasing the total – and the game. Some hard hitting later in the innings from Hasan Ali and Riaz gave the Australians some jitters – but Mitchell Starc mopped up the tail and gave Australia their 3rd win out of 4.
For Pakistan, they continue to be consistent in their inconsistency. Deplorable against the West Indies, magnificent against England and now this topsy-turvy display against Australia that will sting as they know they could have won this game. The two losses, coupled with the game against Sri Lanka being abandoned, means they already face an uphill battle to make the semi finals. Their next game – huge on any occasion – is against fierce rivals, and so far unbeaten, India at Old Trafford, Manchester on Sunday. A loss there, and the Indians will be celebrating not just the victory, but also the highly likely elimination of Pakistan – eventual if not mathematical.
2019 CRICKET WORLD CUP – PAKISTAN FIXTURES
- 31/5/19 vs West Indies – LOST by 7 wickets
- 03/6/19 vs England – WON by 14 runs
- 07/6/19 vs Sri Lanka – NO RESULT – match abandoned due to rain
- 12/6/19 vs Australia – LOST by 41 runs
- 16/6/19 vs India
- 23/6/19 vs South Africa
- 26/6/19 vs New Zealand
- 29/6/19 vs Afghanistan
- 05/7/19 vs Bangladesh