GOT HIM! Australia win an absolute thriller! #PAKvAUS— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) October 12, 2014
Glenn Maxwell has bowled the perfect final over – a double-wicket maiden – to secure Australia a one-run win and a clean-sweep against Pakistan in the third and final one-day international.
Maxwell's two wickets in the final over saw Australia's bowlers defend 9-231 in a game full of flashpoints that made a mockery of its status as a 'dead rubber'.
Steve Smith took a controversial catch that sent fans, commentators and even officials scrambling for the rule books, David Warner left the field injured, there was a clear run-out not given and not sent to the third umpire, and Smith, attempting to take a match-winning catch, landed in an open drinks cooler box.
All that paled though, with Pakistan entering the final over seemingly in an unlosable position, with just two runs required and two wickets in hand.
After a first-ball dot, Sohail Tanvir was bowled attempting to clear the rope. That brought in 216cm Mohammed Irfan – and the field.
Irfan faced three dots before outside edging a final-ball slog for Faulkner to take the winning catch at short midwicket.
"It wasn't going too well until the last over," Maxwell said during the post-match presentation. "Got a bit of luck in the end."
"Basically saying don't get hit for runs," said Maxwell when asked what skipper George Bailey said to him at the start of the final over.
"It's pretty easy in that situation, you’ve just got to pray and hope and, luckily enough, they hit the last one up"
Thankfully Smith was uninjured from his escape into the ice bucket, having earlier underlined his value to the team with a brilliant 77 to anchor the Australian total.
Australia had already wrapped up the series with victories in the first two matches, but the relatively small crowd who made the trek out to the Sheik Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi's outskirts were treated to a thrilling spectacle.
Bad patch though, bt I won't led u ppl down in future IA. Keep up the spirit high we have to mk around positively.— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) October 12, 2014
With two wickets in hand and 24 to get in 3.3 overs, Zufliqar Babar set off for a quick single that should have seen him clearly run-out. However, Faulkner missed with his initial swipe at the stump, collecting them on the return swing.
Replays showed Babar was short of his ground, but Umpire Ahsan Raza declined to send it upstairs for the third umpire to inspect, and Babar survived.
Without the rested Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon, it was a team effort from Australia's bowlers, with two wickets apiece for Faulkner (2-52), Maxwell (2-41), Kane Richardson (2-36), and Xavier Doherty (2-54)
Warner scored 56 and was involved in a 54-run partnership with Smith for the second wicket, but appeared to pick up a left groin problem in the field.
Having caught Sohaib Maqsood in the deep for Paksitan's fourth wicket in the 33rd over, Warner pulled out of his celebratory throw into the air and grimaced, limping towards teammates.
After a visit from team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris, Warner continued on in the field. But after the first ball of the next over, Kountouris was back out as Warner, lying on the field, appeared to be motioning that he had an issue with his left groin.
He left the field shortly afterwards and may now be in doubt for Australia's first outing with the red ball on this VB Tour of the UAE, the four-day warm-up match against Pakistan A in Sharjah starting on Wednesday.
Another flashpoint centred around the dismissal of Fawad Alam, caught by Smith after he sprinted from slip to the leg side to take the catch.
Quick Single: Smith grab sparks controversy
Cricket.com.au learned the ICC match officials were working to a "revised intent" of Law 41.7 that covers fielders making "significant movement" before the batsman has played a shot in their playing conditions for the 2014-15 season.
Although not officially enshrined in Law by the MCC yet, Smith's catch was legal under the ICC umpires' playing conditions, much to the chagrin of Alam who swiped his bat angrily at the boundary rope after initially stalling on his exit from the field.
Smith had earlier batted brilliantly, with patience and guile, to anchor Australia's innings of 9-231 in compiling 77 while striking only two boundaries.
In partnerships of 54 with Warner and 40 with James Faulkner (33), Smith kept Australia's score ticking forward as wickets fell around him.
Australia had lost 5-57 in 26 overs as Pakistan put the brakes on in the middle period. The five-over batting power play yielded just nine runs and two wickets.
Four months out from the opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup, Smith has done his best in this series to play himself into a top-six batting spot with another brilliant innings
Smith's 77 followed his 101 in the series' first game last Wednesday. He was bowled twice in four balls by Tanvir – the first on a free-hit after a back-foot no-ball – and slapped his bat in frustration as he departed in the 46th over.
Warner cashed in on the fast and true deck, registering his second half-century of the tour with a sweetly struck six onto the grassy bank at midwicket.
His dismissal to Shahid Afridi (2-44), popping a catch back to the bowler, saw him fling down his helmet and gloves at the boundary rope as he stalked into the change rooms, clearly frustrated knowing a big score was in the offing.
Aaron Finch endured a torrid time in the UAE. In three ODI innings he has scored 0, 14 and, today, 18.
George Bailey departed for a third-ball duck and Maxwell (20) top-edged Afridi, well caught by a diving Umar Amin running to his left from deep square leg.
Phil Hughes (5), one of two changes to the Australia XI for tonight's third ODI , was LBW to Tanvir, a verdict that was upheld on review. Mitchell Starc (5, 1-33) was the other new face.
Test-squad call-up Faulkner showed his prowess in the late overs of an ODI innings adding 33 until he fell in the final over to give Tanvir (3-40) his third wicket.