TAUNTON - In their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 clash against Australia, Pakistan offered further proof that they suffer a severe case of the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. It made for a thrilling cricket match.

In various phases within the match at Taunton on Wednesday, 12 June, Pakistan displayed their best as well as their worst. Their worst proved too costly, though, as Australia secured a 41-run victory, bundling out Pakistan for 266 in 45.4 overs.

After opting to bowl, Pakistan didn’t do justice to the conditions, allowing Australia to cash in on some poor bowling early on. Their lengths were too short, and sloppy fielding didn’t help, with Asif Ali guilty of missing two sitters. David Warner scored a century, Aaron Finch an 82, and Australia looked good for a lot more than the 307 they managed.

Warner, who shared an opening stand of 146 with skipper Finch, smashed 11 boundaries and a six in his 107 as Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz’ decision to field after winning the toss initially backfired.

That Australia were restricted to that score had a lot to do with Amir. He returned a fine 5/30 to surge to the top of the tournament wicket-takers’ charts. With the exception of the excellent Amir, Pakistan’s attack struggled early on, not helped by woeful fielding, but when Warner sliced Shaheen Afridi to Imam-ul-Haq at deep point, Australia’s innings faltered.

When Warner, who was superb in posting a 15th ODI century, departed, Australia were 242-4 from 37.5 overs but Pakistan limited the damage with Amir in superb form.

Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali chipped in with important wickets but it was Amir who almost single-handedly dragged Pakistan back into the match. He removed Usman Khawaja (18) and Shaun Marsh (23) then had Alex Carey lbw for 20 before wrapping up the Australia innings when Mitchell Starc flat-batted straight to Shoaib Malik. And going into the second innings, there was genuine hope surrounding Pakistan.

However, once again, the inconsistent side of Pakistan resurfaced. Fakhar Zaman didn’t trouble the scorers, Babar Azam looked solid but needlessly holed out, and in light of that, Imam-ul-Haq needed to do more than the 75-ball 53 he managed.

The middle order collapsed, despite some big hits from Mohammad Hafeez (46), and for all the optimism of a sizeable section of the fans, Pakistan looked like they would collapse without a fight.

That was until Sarfaraz Ahmed and Wahad Riaz came together. Something burned inside Riaz – as it has before against Australia in World Cups – as he scored a 39-ball 45, connecting with each of his two fours and three sixes with a delightful bat swing. He added 64 with Ahmed for the eighth wicket, and until the partnership lasted, Pakistan believed.

But it wasn’t to be. Mitchell Starc induced the thinnest edge off Riaz, and it didn’t take long for the innings to be wrapped up.

POINTS TABLE

Pos Team Played Won Lost N/R Net RR Points

1 NEW ZEALAND 3 3 0 0 +2.163 6

2 AUSTRALIA 4 3 1 0 +0.570 6

3 ENGLAND 3 2 1 0 +1.307 4

4 INDIA 2 2 0 0 +0.539 4

5 SRI LANKA 4 1 1 2 -1.517 4

6 WEST INDIES 3 1 1 1 +2.054 3

7 BANGLADESH 4 1 2 1 -0.714 3

8 PAKISTAN 4 1 2 1 -1.796 3

9 SOUTH AFRICA 4 0 3 1 -0.952 1

10 AFGHANISTAN 3 0 3 0 -1.493 0

Scorecard

AUSTRALIA:

A Finch c Hafeez b Amir 82

D Warner c Imam b Shaheen 107

S Smith c Asif b Hafeez 10

G Maxwell b Shaheen 20

S Marsh c Malik b Amir 23

U Khawaja c Wahab b Amir 18

A Carey lbw b Amir 20

N Coulter-Nile c Sarfaraz b Wahab 2

P Cummins c Sarfaraz b Hasan 2

M Starc c Malik b Amir 36

K Richardson not out 1

EXTRAS: (lb10, nb3, w6) 19

TOTAL: (all out; 49 overs) 307

FOW: 1-146, 2-189, 3-223, 4-242, 5-277, 6-288, 7-299, 8-302, 9-304, 10-307

BOWLING: M Amir 10-2-30-5; Shaheen Afridi 10-0-70-2; Hasan Ali 10-0-67-1; Wahab Riaz 8-0-44-1; M Hafeez 7-0-60-1; Shoaib Malik 4-0-26-0

PAKISTAN:

Imam-ul-Haq c Carey b Cummins 53

Fakhar Zaman c Richardson b Cummins 0

Babar Azam c Richardson b Coulter-Nile 30

M Hafeez c Starc b Finch 46

Sarfaraz Ahmed run out 40

Shoaib Malik c Carey b Cummins 0

Asif Ali c Carey b Richardson 5

Hasan Ali c Khawaja b Richardson 32

Wahab Riaz c Carey b Starc 45

M Amir b Starc 0

Shaheen Afridi not out 1

EXTRAS: (lb4, nb1, w9) 14

TOTAL: (all out; 45.4 overs) 266

FOW: 1-2, 2-56, 3-136, 4-146, 5-147, 6-160, 7-200, 8-264, 9-265, 10-266

BOWLING: P Cummins 10-0-33-3, M Starc 9-1-43-2, K Richardson 8.4-0-62-2, N Coulter-Nile 9-0-53-1, G Maxwell 7-0-58-0, A Finch 2-0-13-1

TOSS: Pakistan

MAN Of MATCH: David Warner

UMPIRES: N Llong, R Palliyaguruge

TV UMPIRE: Ian Gould

MATCH REFEREE: Andy Pycroft