Wednesday, July 24, 2019 | ePaper
Fantastic Finch punishes Pakistan in Australia's win
Aaron Finch struck his second century in as many games to lead Australia to another thumping eight-wicket victory over a hapless Pakistan in the second one-day international in Sharjah on Sunday.
The Australia captain smashed a 143-ball 153 not out for his 13th ODI hundred -- also his highest score in ODIs -- to anchor Australia's comfortable chase of a 285-run target in 47.5 overs.
Finch, who scored 116 in Australia's eight-wicket win in the first game at the same venue on Friday, put on a solid 209-run opening wicket stand with Usman Khawaja who made a 109-ball 88 to give Australia a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Finch struck six sixes and 11 boundaries in a dominating innings, improving on his previous highest one-day score of 148 against Scotland at Edinburgh in 2013.
The victory came in the 100th one-day international match between the two countries.
Finch admitted the start was tough.
"On a wicket like that, you can't afford to take it too deep with new batters," he said. "When you come in, it's tough to quickly at first. I just wanted to get through Imad (Wasim).
"It's hard to take a risk off him. I just hung in there as long as I could. Usman has been in good form, and he's getting big runs at an important time. Things are going quite well at the moment, but there are always things to improve."
Pakistan had replaced fast bowler Mohammad Amir with Mohammad Hasnain for rookie 18-year-old's first one-day and that made for an inexperienced lineup, having already rested six main players for the series. Finch and Khawaja thrived against the novice attack, with Finch striking two sixes in the final overs while Khawaja's knock had eight boundaries.
Finch completed his hundred with a couple off Hasnain on his 97th ball, making successive hundreds for a second time in his career. He scored consecutive hundreds against England in Australia last year.
Khawaja fell to leg-spinner Yasir Shah with 76 needed while Glenn Maxwell cracked two sixes in his 19 before he was run out.
Pakistan's stand-in captain Shoaib Malik rued the lack of early wickets.
"To be honest, I think early strikes in our bowling is what we are lacking," said Malik. "Overall, there are positives as we fought until the last ball. We are testing our bench strength."
Pakistan owed their total of 280-7, after winning the toss, to Mohammad Rizwan's maiden century.