Scorecard: Pakistan v Australia
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David Warner underlined his value to the Australian team with a half-century to steer the Aussies to a six-wicket victory in their Twenty20 against Pakistan in Dubai early this morning.
Warner brought up his 50 with an audacious switch-hit slog sweep for six and celebrated by rocking his bat, a signal to fiancée Candice Falzon and new baby Ivy Mae.
Warner hit four fours and three sixes in a 39-ball knock of 53, as the tourists cruised home with more than six overs to spare.
Having restricted Pakistan to 9-96 from 20 overs with an impressive effort in the field, helped by some slopping batting, Australia had wobbled in their run chase, losing 3-18 before Warner took matters into his own hands.
The left-handed opener blasted 17 from six balls across the 11th and 12th overs to end Pakistan's resistance and send fans streaming towards the exits.
The Dubai venue is nicknamed the Ring of Fire for its unique design of spotlights encircling the stadium, and with a 25,000-strong sell-out crowd in a festive mood, it made for an intimidating atmosphere early on after Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi had elected to bat.
But that soon changed midway through the third over when Glenn Maxwell, thrown the new ball by debutant Australia skipper Aaron Finch, struck the breakthrough.
Maxwell (3-13) bowled three overs to open the innings, leaving the hosts reeling at 3-23.
The figure would have been worse for Pakistan if the odd wayward delivery had not yielded 11 extras in the first five overs.
The bowlers were also helped by some outstanding fielding. Phillip Hughes and Sean Abbott both saved boundaries with committed dives fielding in the ring during the powerplay overs.
Then came the march of the debutants.
Cameron Boyce, Kane Richardson and Abbott all took wickets in their first overs. Australia's fourth debutant in this match, Hughes, perhaps wished he had been called upon to bowl.
Boyce got one to turn sharply and a loose shot saw Ahmed Shehzad (10) caught by Finch at first slip.
Richardson hurried Umar Akmal (1) into skying a catch to Warner and Abbott had one tail back into Afridi (2) at 142kph to have him lbw.
Boyce had played just the one game for the Hobart Hurricanes in their run to the Oppo Champions League Twenty20 semi-finals, bowling three wicketless overs for 36 runs, but was impressive here.
Maxwell was gifted his first wicket, with Awais Zia (3) bunting a catch to Richardson at mid-off, and picked up his second three balls later when Umar Amin (0) advanced down the pitch and missed, leaving Brad Haddin to complete one of his easier stumpings.
Maxwell should have had a third wicket when Haddin missed a leg-side stumping chance, but it did not prove costly with the Victorian spinning a full ball through the gate to knock over Sohaib Masqood (0).
Boyce picked up a second wicket came when Anwar Ali (5) gifted Richardson his second catch at mid-off as the Queenslander finished with 2-10 from four overs.
Saad Nasim, the 24-year-old debutant, was Pakistan's most composed player, reaching 25 before he was bowled by a yorker from Mitchell Starc.
James Faulkner picked up a late wicket when Wahab Riaz (16) was well caught by a running Starc after top-edging an attempted heave from a slower ball.
Richardson was entrusted with the final over, conceding just three to finish with 1-13 from his three overs.
Australia started brightly enough in their run chase despite losing Finch in the third over.
And when Maxwell reverse swept his third ball over the infield for four, he and Warner took 15 from Mohammed Irfan's second over to put the tourists well on top.
Maxwell fell for 17, seemingly caught in two minds about which shot to play, only to miss an Afridi top-spinner to be plum lbw.
And when Steven Smith (3) danced down the pitch only to chip Raza Hasan to mid-off, and Hughes (8) top-edged Riaz, the small but vocal contingent of watching Australians may have shifted nervously in their seats.
However a 41-run partnership between Warner and Faulkner (seven not out) steered Australia to the victory.