Opening pair Aaron Finch and David Warner yesterday ran riot as Australia routed Pakistan by 10 wickets in Perth to wrap up their Twenty20 series 2-0 in emphatic fashion.
After restricting the visitors to 106-8, Finch (52) and Warner (48) whacked five sixes and eight fours between them as they raced to the finish line without loss.
The home team won in Canberra by seven wickets, thanks to a brilliant 80 not out by Steve Smith, and were on track to also triumph in Sydney only for rain to save the visitors.
Their victory in Perth has them on an impressive eight-game winning streak in the short format as they build toward the T20 World Cup on home soil next year.
“Really proud of the boys with the way we applied ourselves in the last couple of weeks. Each time we turn up at training, we are improving ourselves and that is very important,” captain Finch said.
By contrast, Pakistan are struggling and have now lost five of their past six, but, despite the poor run, they remain No. 1 in the rankings.
“Very disappointed, but we lost to a good team. We have learned a lot from this series, and we’ll take the positives and come back hard in the next series,” skipper Babar Azam said.
After being sent in to bat at the Perth Arena, Iftikhar Ahmed’s 45 was the only resistance by Pakistan in a repeat performance of poor batting against quality bowling, led by Kane Richardson, who took three wickets.
Finch and Warner showed no pity in reply, exposing Pakistan’s young and fragile attack.
The explosive Warner hit Mohammad Amir for six in the first over and there was no looking back in a display of power-hitting from the two men.
Pakistan made four changes with Imam ul-Haq and Mohammad Hasnain coming in, and debuts handed to batsman Khushdil Shah and bowler Muhammad Musa.
Azam had hit consecutive 50s in the previous games, but he fell early, out leg before wicket to Mitchell Starc for 6.
The Australian fast bowler then smashed the stumps of Mohammad Rizwan on the next ball with an inswinger, leaving Pakistan at 15-2.
Opener ul-Haq hit two boundaries in his 14 before miss-hitting a pull shot off Sean Abbott for Ben McDermott to take an easy catch.
Haris Sohail again failed, mistiming a shot off-spinner Ashton Agar, while Shah lasted 11 balls for his 8 runs.
When Ahmed finally went looking for a boundary off Richardson, it was left to the tailenders to at least ensure that their team made it to three figures.
ENGLAND VS NEW ZEALAND
Reuters, NAPIER, New Zealand
Dawid Malan yesterday smashed a 48-ball century and skipper Eoin Morgan made a blistering 91 to help England secure a series-leveling 76-run victory in the fourth Twenty20 international against New Zealand.
Malan and Morgan featured in a massive 182-run partnership to power England to 241-3, hitting 13 sixes between them.
When the teams returned, spinner Matt Parkinson claimed 4-47 as New Zealand were all out for 165 in the 17th over, squaring the series at 2-2.
Put into bat, England lost Jonny Bairstow in the fourth over, while Tom Banton made 31 before becoming Mitchell Santner’s second victim.
Morgan walked out to join Malan and the left-handers lit up McLean Park.
Malan smacked his sixth six. His unbeaten 103 off 51 balls also included nine boundaries.
“Not very often you have days like that when every time you have a hack at one it lands safe or goes for six,” Malan said after being named Man of the Match. “It’s as good as it gets.”
Morgan, at the other end, put up a six-hitting display of his own, clobbering seven of them.
The England captain eventually holed out after his 41-ball blitz.
England, who were 88-2 at the halfway mark, plundered 153 runs from the final 10 overs.
Martin Guptill (27) and Colin Munro (30) put on 54 runs for the opening stand before the wheels came off New Zealand’s chase.
Tom Curran dismissed Guptill and Parkinson (4-47) struck twice in the seventh over.
New Zealand did not get a partnership that could take them close to the target.
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