A tale of redemption: Warner century leads Australia to victory

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Australia 307 (Warner 107, Finch 82, Shaun Marsh 23, Amir 5-30) def Pakistan 266 (Imam-ul-Haq 53, Cummins 3-30)

Somerset: David Warner found redemption and banished suggestions he had lost his attacking mojo by delivering his first international century since returning from suspension and spearing Australia to a tough 41-run victory against Pakistan in their World Cup clash this morning.

Led by Warner (107 off 111 balls) and skipper Finch (82 off 84), Australia made 307 but this should have been at least 350, for they lost 6-30 off 6.5 overs to be bowled out in 49 overs.

In reply, they appeared set for victory when Pakistan slumped to 5-147 and even 7-200 in the 34th over but skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed (40 off 48) and Wahab Riaz (45 off 39), the latter thumping two boundaries and three sixes, dragged the equation for victory to 44 runs off 35 balls on the small County Ground.

Happy returns: Australia's David Warner celebrates his ODI World Cup century against Pakistan.

Happy returns: Australia's David Warner celebrates his ODI World Cup century against Pakistan.Credit:PA

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Pat Cummins (3-30) was superb but Finch had used his full 10 overs by the start of the final power play, the pace ace having turned the contest in Australia's favor with a brilliant second spell of 2-8 off three overs.

This left the pressure on Mitchell Starc, and he responded. In his penultimate over, he pushed Wahab on to the back foot and hads him wofting at a delivery outside off stump. Starc gave an uncertain appeal, and it was rejected by umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge. With seconds left on the clock to appeal, Finch called for the decision review system – and this found the thinest of edges. It ended Wahab's stay, having contributed the highest score ever by a Pakistan No.9 in the World Cup.

Starc then bowled Mohammad Amir for a duck and a run-out ended the afternoon, giving Australia their third win from four matches and second spot on the ladder with five pool matches remaining, the next against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Saturday.

Cummins continued his strong tournament, including a second spell of 2-8 off three overs, and Finch, with the courage to use his own part-time spin with Adam Zampa dropped, had the dangerous Mohammad Hafeez caught off a full toss on the square-leg boundary.

Pakistan lost 3-11 off 15 balls at one stage, coming after strokemaker Babar Azam (30 off 28 balls) had punched seven boundaries before he was lulled into a mistimed hook by Nathan Coulter-Nile and was caught.

The day began well for Australia, for Warner and Finch put on 146 – the highest one-day international opening stand in England by Australia since the 1975 World Cup.

When Warner fell, caught by Imam-ul-Haq off the bowling of paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi, Australia were in a strong position at 4-242 in the 38th over. There was a late collapse though.

That was largely due to Amir, the left-armer brilliant in claiming 5-30 off 10 overs, including 37 dot balls. It was his first five-wicket haul and the best figures by a Pakistani bowler in the first innings of a World Cup match.

There had been much discussion over why Warner had produced the two slowest half-centuries of his career until this point of the tournament but he responded in style. Whether it was because of his stints in stand-and-deliver Twenty20 cricket through his suspension, or the quality of bowling and pitches here, Warner had not been the same force but he emerged a more aggressive figure against Pakistan.

His century, his 15th in one-day internationals, came off 102 balls and featured 11 boundaries and one six. He had a stroke of luck on 97 when his thick edge flew between wicketkeeper and first slip but he punched the air and jumped in delight upon reaching three figures – the second time he had done so in a World Cup and his third against Pakistan.

His hug with Shaun Marsh told the tale, having endured a year of frustration, regret, even torment, following his role in the sandpaper scandal in South Africa.

He was the more aggressive early before Finch took charge. The captain was particularly savage on Mohammad Hafeez – three of his four sixes were muscled over wide long on from the veteran off-spinner.

Pakistan's inability to strike early and the manner in which the runs were leaked prompted former captain Ramiz Raja to describe what he had seen as "appalling".

Leading lights: Warner congratulates Australian Aaron Finch after the Australian captain reached 50.

Leading lights: Warner congratulates Australian Aaron Finch after the Australian captain reached 50.Credit:AP

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan could not believe the "basic errors" Pakistan had made, including a no ball by spinner Shoaib Malik which resulted in a free hit to Warner – and a six over long on, his first in one-day international cricket since September, 2017.

Pakistan's joy of their victory over England disappeared when tall left-armer Shaheen went for 24 ruRead More – Source

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