ICC World Cup 2023: Australia beat Pakistan by 62 runs

ICC World Cup 2023: Australia beat Pakistan by 62 runs

Bengaluru, The Gulf Observer: David Warner and Mitchell Marsh powered Australia to a 62-run victory over Pakistan with their entertaining centuries Friday in the fourth game for both teams at the Cricket World Cup.

Pakistan paid heavily for dropping Warner on 10 as the left-hander blazed his way to 163 off 124 balls and Marsh celebrated his 32nd birthday with a career-best 121 off 108 balls in Australia’s imposing total of 367-9.

Pakistan, which won the toss and elected to field, came back strongly in the last 10 overs with Shaheen Afridi picking 5-54 and Haris Rauf, who was smacked for 24 in his first over by Warner and Marsh, taking 3-83. But the damage done by Warner and Marsh was more than enough to give Australia enough runs on board.

Australia kept coming hard at Pakistan once claiming the wickets of both openers Imam-ul-Haq (70) and Abdullah Shafique (64) before it got Babar Azam’s team bowled out for 305 with more than four overs to spare.

“Pretty tough playing here, but good to get a win,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said. “Openers set the tone (for Australia) and we want to take the game on like that. … Batting for long, like our openers did, was great.”

Adam Zampa picked up the key wicket of Babar, the world’s top-ranked ODI batter, for yet another unimpressive knock of 18 at this World Cup as the legspinner finished with 4-53. Marcus Stoinis (2-40) broke through the threatening opening stand by having both Shafique and Imam dismissed in his first two overs before Pakistan’s middle-order capitulated.

“First 34 overs with the ball and fielding cost us,” Babar said. “We dropped Warner and such batters ensure they cash in. Credit to our quicks and spinners for coming back in the last 15 (overs).”

Pakistan, which lost by seven wickets to archrival India in its last game at Ahmedabad, slipped out of the top four with four points from four games.

Five-time champion Australia earned a second straight win after losing to India and South Africa, and occupies fourth spot on better run-rate than Pakistan.

Imam and Abdullah gave Pakistan hope of chasing down a record-breaking total in the World Cup by raising a 134-run stand before both fell in Stoinis’ successive overs while going for expansive shots against the right-arm seamer.

Cummins then took a well-judged two-handed catch at short mid-wicket off Zampa to end another brief knock for Babar. The Pakistan skipper has scored just one half century in four games at the World Cup — in a losing cause against India.

Zampa then returned for his last spell and quickly polished off the lower order when he had Mohammad Rizwan (40) and Iftikhar Ahmed (26) trapped leg before wicket and then got Mohammad Nawaz stumped in his final over.

“Zampa has been awesome,” Cummins said. “Showed his class, he’s a wicket-taker, Babar and Iftikhar were big wickets.”

Earlier, Warner survived Pakistan’s lbw television referral on the first ball off Afridi before Usama Mir, coming into the playing XI for out-of-form Shadab Khan, dropped a regulation catch at mid-on.

Warner and Marsh raised a blazing 259-run opening-wicket stand – Australia best first-wicket partnership in the World Cups – as Pakistan bowlers couldn’t stem the flow of runs on a perfect batting wicket with short boundaries on both sides at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Both batters completed their centuries in the 31st over as they smacked 24 boundaries and 18 big sixes that included one splendid crouched six by Warner in Rauf’s first over.

Marsh got out in the 34th over when Mir didn’t slip at short fine leg and took a fine catch and Glenn Maxwell’s promotion lasted just one ball as he holed out to mid off, giving Afridi two wickets in two balls.

Babar’s dropped catch of Steven Smith didn’t cost much as the experienced batter gave a low return catch to Mir and Warner departed in the 43rd over when he couldn’t clear Rauf’s off-cutter and holed out at long on.

Stoinis’ 21-run knock was the third best in Australia’s daunting total. Afridi returned from a chest infection and fever that he contracted after the game against India to end up with his best bowling figures in the tournament so far.

“We started well. We got small partnerships but needed big ones in the middle,” Babar said. “Honestly, we have to get up to the mark in the first 10 with the ball and partnerships in the middle with bat.”