Qantas Tour of the UAE
Maxwell lifts Aussies in tense win
Allrounder posts match-winning 98 before his bowlers hold firm despite twin tons
Louis Cameron at Dubai International Stadium
30 March 2019, 11:00 AM AEST
A Glenn Maxwell masterclass has seen Australia claim a thrilling victory in Dubai after Pakistan somehow sunk to a fourth-straight defeat despite Abid Ali and Mohammad Rizwan both posting centuries.
Maxwell's 98 off only 82 balls was enough to see Australia home by six runs in a tense finish, with tons from debutant Abid (112 off 119 balls) and Rizwan (104 off 102) going in vain.
Pakistan looked to be cruising with 66 required off the final 10 overs with the pair at the crease, but they fell in an extraordinary heap to lose 6-52 as Nathan Coulter-Nile (3-53 off 10 overs) and Marcus Stoinis (2-20) came up clutch.
Needing 17 to win off the final over, Rizwan holed out for 104 as Stoinis held his nerve in just his third over of the game to extend Australia's ODI win streak to seven.
Tailender Usman Shinwari hit a six with 14 needed off three balls but was out the next ball as Pakistan finished on 8-271 from their 50 overs to seal Australia's win.
Maxwell fell agonisingly short of a second career ODI century when he was caught short of his ground coming back for a second run in the final over of Australia's innings.
But two days after another rapid match-winning knock of 71 in Abu Dhabi, Maxwell's adventurous 98 was again the game's defining innings.
The explosive right-hander punished keeper Rizwan for dropping him on 10 and Shinwari for bowling him off a no-ball on 76, smashing three sixes and nine fours, with a jaw-dropping reverse scoop over third man the highlight of his audacious knock.
He put on 134 for the sixth-wicket with Alex Carey (55 off 67) to rescue Australia from a perilous position at 5-140.
Pakistan may rue that they failed to blood the daring Abid when the series was still alive, with the diminutive right-hander scoring the highest ever total by a Pakistan batsman on ODI debut to threaten Australia's hold over them.
The 31-year-old, whose exuberant century celebration resulted in his hat falling off his head before he'd competed the milestone-sealing run, is the third Pakistan player to register a century on ODI debut after Imam-ul-Haq and Saleem Elahi.
It was also a maiden international half-century for Carey, who has been tidy behind the stumps and has now played several important hands since moving down to No.7 after a spell opening the batting during the home summer.
Usman Khawaja (62) weathered testing new-ball spells from Shinwari (0-53) and Junaid Khan (0-47) to produce a timely innings given David Warner struck another Indian Premier League half-century only hours later.
While Pakistan finally managed to remove Aaron Finch before he'd passed fifty for the first time in this campaign, the Australian captain's 39 was enough to see him pass Warner's record (386 runs v South Africa in 2016) for the most runs scored by Australian in a five-game ODI series.
Teenage speedster Mohammad Hasnain (2-52) trapped Finch lbw for a memorable maiden international wicket.
Khawaja could have been run-out on four and copped a blow to the shoulder off Shinwari, but he channelled his 302-ball epic to draw a Test at this venue nearly six months ago by sweeping and reverse-sweeping his way to a 64-ball half-century.
His exit came after Shaun Marsh (5), Peter Handscomb (7) and Marcus Stoinis (2) were all dismissed by spin through the middle overs – one of the areas for improvement Australia have previously identified in 50-over cricket.
But as they've done all series, Australia found a decisive partnership at a vital time, with Maxwell and Carey beginning cautiously before 58 came off the final six overs to fire Australia to a match-winning total.
Carey reached his first ODI fifty with an extraordinary slice of luck; hitting one straight at Shinwari, the balled bounced off the bowler's hand onto the non-striker's end stumps, only for the bails to fall back into their grooves after momentarily being displaced with the Australian keeper well short of his ground.
With Pat Cummins rested and Jason Behrendorff ill, returning paceman Coulter-Nile bowled Shan Masood for a duck in his first over while Nathan Lyon (1-49) removed dangerman Haris Sohail for 25.
But a month after smashing a 156-ball 209, the highest List A score in Pakistan history, Abid translated his domestic form to the top flight.
Abid took the attack to the Aussies with a sequence of cross-batted boundaries, shaking his fist in delight and even doffing his cap at reaching fifty, before giddily skipping down the pitch when he scored his hundredth run.
A determined Rizwan by contrast refused to remove his helmet when he reached his second hundred in as many games with the game still on the line.
But Stoinis' nerveless final over ensured an Australian victory and kept their hopes of a series whitewash alive heading into Sunday's series final at the same venue.
Pakistan: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Saad Ali, Imad Wasim (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Yasir Shah, Usman Shinwari, Junaid Khan, Muhammad Hasnain
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon, Kane Richardson
Qantas Tour of the UAE
First ODI: Australia won by eight wickets
Second ODI: Australia won by eight wickets
Third ODI: Australia won by 80 runs
Fourth ODI: Australia won by six runs
Fifth ODI: v Pakistan, March 31 in Dubai
(all matches begin at 10pm AEDT)