Opener Nasir Jamshed hit an aggressive 97 to guide Pakistan to a seven-wicket win over Australia in the second one-day international (ODI), leveling the three-match series at 1-1 in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
The 22-year-old left-hander took the attack to the Australian bowlers during his 98-ball innings, hitting 11 boundaries and two well-timed sixes to help his team successfully chase a 249-run target in the 43.4 overs at Abu Dhabi Stadium.
Australia owed their recovery to another left-hander, Michael Hussey (61), to post a challenging total despite an impressive performance by Pakistan’s ace spinner Saeed Ajmal (4-32).
Australia had won the first ODI by four wickets in Sharjah on Tuesday.
The third and final match will be played in Sharjah tomorrow.
Pakistan’s batting, which folded in the first ODI for 198, showed a remarkable improvement as Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez (23) raced to 66 by the 12th over to set their team on course for a win.
Even when Hafeez pulled Dan Christian straight into the hands of Hussey, Jamshed remained unperturbed, as he pulled Christian for two exquisite sixes over mid-wicket.
He brought up his sixth one-day fifty off 58 balls.
As he looked set for his second hundred, Jamshed miscued a drive off Mitchell Johnson straight into the hands of Mitchell Starc at mid-off. He added 101 for the second wicket with Azhar Ali, who made 59 not out.
Pakistan also lost Asad Shafiq (9), but Ali and Misbah-ul-Haq (35) saw off the target.
Australian paceman Starc and James Pattinson, who shared eight wickets between them in the first match, found the ball hard to grip in the humid conditions and dismissed just one batsman.
Misbah showed delight after the win.
“I am really, really happy that we showed remarkable improvement and won this game,” Misbah said. “The bowlers did a wonderful job and then Jamshed and Ali played good knocks, so it’s satisfying.”
Australian captain Michael Clarke praised the winners.
“Full credit to Pakistan. It was difficult to bowl under lights, but there are no excuses,” Clarke said.
Earlier Hussey came good with his 38th one-day fifty to lead an Australian recovery from a precarious 87-4 after they won the toss and batted. Australia scored 73 runs in the last 10 overs foiling Ajmal, who at one point looked capable of keeping Australia down to 220.
Hussey added an invaluable 66 for the fifth wicket with George Bailey (39) and then a rapid 58 for the sixth with Glenn Maxwell, who made 28 in 27 balls to propel the Australian total.
Hussey hit two sixes and a boundary off 72 balls before he was bowled by Ajmal in the 46th over.
Australia had lost opener Mathew Wade in the second over for seven before David Warner and Clarke added 66 for the second wicket.
Warner, who played an uncharacteristically slow knock, with his first run coming off his 19th delivery, and Clarke (37) slowly built the score to 74 before Pakistani spinners Ajmal and Hafeez (1-28) took three quick wickets.
Hafeez dismissed Clarke while Ajmal accounted for Warner — both trapped in front of the wicket. Warner hit two boundaries in his 24, which came off 68 balls.
Australia upped the pace of their innings when Maxwell hit two towering sixes off Abdur Rehman in the 40th over, helping them to 31 in the batting power-play. Paceman Junaid Khan took three for 52.