ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Aussies overcome Pakistan scare after Warner ton
David Warner's classy century sees Australia back on the winners' list after a typically unpredictable display from Pakistan
Louis Cameron at The County Ground, Taunton
13 June 2019, 09:00 AM AEST
A fired-up David Warner struck his first century since returning to international cricket to lead Australia to their third win of the World Cup, though not before Pakistan gave them an almighty late fright.
Having struggled for fluency in his previous knocks at this World Cup, Warner looked back to his brilliant best on his way to a 111-ball 107 that helped Australia reach 307 on a lively Taunton pitch.
In somewhat familiar scenes for Pakistan, they looked on track to give the target a nudge, then imploded, then looked on track again, as No.9 Wahab Riaz smashed three sixes in an extraordinary cameo of 45 off 39.
His departure to a canny caught-behind review off Mitchell Starc proved decisive, as Australia hung on for a 41-run victory.
Pat Cummins had earlier picked up 3-33 and delivered a vital spell to spark a collapse of 4-24 in 29 balls to put Pakistan on the back foot.
The win puts the reigning 50-over world champions equal with New Zealand on six points at the top of the tournament standings, though the undefeated Kiwis have a game in hand on Australia.
Paceman Mohammad Amir was outstanding with the ball, removing four of Australia's top seven batsmen and finishing with 5-30 from his 10 overs – the best figures recorded at this World Cup so far.
Sarfaraz Ahmed (40 off 48) and Imam ul-Haq (53 off 75) both fought hard in a losing cause.
Warner, who hit 11 fours and a six, scored his first ODI ton in more than 18 months in what were arguably the toughest batting conditions Australia have so far had to contend with this tournament.
He and opening partner Aaron Finch negotiated the tricky conditions skilfully to record a 146-run first-wicket stand, the highest partnership of the tournament to date.
Upon reaching triple figures, the 32-year-old Warner wheeled away to complete his familiar leaping celebration, punching the air in delight and kissing the Australian logo on his helmet.
The Aussies however failed to capitalise on the promising foundations laid by their openers, with Warner’s exit prompting a collapse of 7-65.
Finch had dominated the scoring early in Australia's innings, ruthlessly targeting the off-spin of Mohammad Hafeez (1-60 off seven overs) after surviving a captivating duel with Wahab (1-44 off eight overs). He hit three of his four sixes off Hafeez before departing for 82 off 84 balls.
Wahab also toiled hard after skipper Sarfaraz elected to field first under grey skies, but fellow quicks Shaheen Afridi and Hassan Ali were ill-disciplined as Pakistan handed Australia three free hits off no balls – including one from off-spinner Shoaib Malik.
Asif Ali dropped two simple catches off Wahab, one at slip off Finch on 26 and one at third man off Warner on 104, while Pakistan were also left to rue numerous misfields.
Finch, Steve Smith (10 off 13) and Glenn Maxwell (20 off 10) were all dismissed trying to clear the boundary as the Aussies eyed off a mammoth total, while Warner too was out trying to lift the tempo.
Shaun Marsh (23 off 26) and Usman Khawaja (18 off 16) found themselves in unfamiliar spots at No.5 and No.6 batting with 12 overs to go, with both players dismissed trying to hit boundaries.
Pakistan's quicks, led by Amir, struck back at the death and their fielding vastly improved, as Australia lost consistent wickets in the death overs to eventually be dismissed with six balls to spare.
Australia went into the match with four specialist pace bowlers after dropping leg-spinner Adam Zampa for Kane Richardson and Shaun Marsh replacing the injured Marcus Stoinis.
It proved a risky strategy after they were left scrambling to cobble 10 overs together from Finch and Maxwell.
For the third time in four games, Cummins took a wicket in his first over, while Nathan Coulter-Nile grabbed another inside the first 10 overs, with Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam, who looked exquisite in his 28-ball 30, both caught on the boundary by Kane Richardson.
An 80-run stand off just 86 deliveries between Imam and Mohammad Hafeez (46 off 49) appeared to have Pakistan building towards a serious assault on their target.
But an over after bringing up a 73-ball half-century with a delightful lofted off-drive, Imam gloved one to wicketkeeper Alex Carey down the leg-side to begin the initial procession.
When Finch brought himself on to bowl, Hafeez inexplicably hit a gentle full toss from the part-time left-arm spinner straight down deep square-leg's throat.
After fluffing a difficult stumping chance off Sarfaraz, Carey redeemed himself with a terrific one-handed grab to remove Shoaib for a duck.
That handed Cummins a third wicket, while Richardson got his first two scalps of the tournament to remove first Asif Ali (5 off 8), and then Hassan Ali (32 off 15 balls) after an entertaining cameo featuring three sixes.
Wahab and Sarfaraz put on 64 in quick time, but after the former departed, the match was all but gone for Pakistan.
Maxwell then pulled off a sharp direct-hit run out from mid-wicket to seal the win and ease jangling Australian nerves.
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson.
Pakistan XI: Imam ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c/wk), Mohammad Hafeez, Asif Ali, Hassan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi.
2019 World Cup
Australia's squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
June 9: India beat Australia by 36 runs
June 12: Australia beat Pakistan by 41 runs
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia, Lord's
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord's
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