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ICC World Cup: Australia beat Pakistan by 62 runs in Bengaluru

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In the ICC Cricket World Cup, Australia clinched their second consecutive win in the World Cup as they defeated Pakistan by 62 runs in a crucial match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru last night. Chasing a target of 368 runs, Pakistan were bundled out for 305 runs in 45.3 overs.

For Pakistan, Imam-ul-Haq was the top scorer with 70 runs. For Australia, Adam Zampa scalped four wickets, Pat Cummins & Marcus Stoinis took two wickets each while Mitchell Starc & Josh Hazlewood claimed one wicket each.  Earlier, Pakistan won the toss and elected to field.

David Warner, Mitchell Marsh and Adam Zampa steered Australia to a vital win over Pakistan in Bengaluru on Friday (October 20). The result saw the fortunes for the two teams change completely as Australia bounced back in style after suffering defeats in their opening two games to now win two in a row whereas Pakistan suffered the exact opposite fate. In pursuit of a massive target following centuries from Warner and Marsh, Pakistan remained in the hunt for the major part of their innings after Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq laid a solid platform before Zampa’s key strikes hurt them towards the end.

Australia’s intentions were very clear as early as in the first over of the day when Marsh smashed a six straight over Shaheen Afridi’s head. The two openers targeted the pace of Haris Rauf as Warner clipped him for a stunning six over fine leg, which was then followed by Marsh fetching a hat-trick of boundaries in the same over. Quite astonishingly, Rauf conceded 47 runs in his first three overs.

While Warner’s strike rate comfortably hovered over 100, Marsh stepped on the accelerator after going past his half-century as the openers kept Pakistan at bay. Things could have turned out differently had Usama Mir, the World Cup debutant, held onto a simple chance to get rid of Warner early in his innings the veteran made the Asian side pay dearly. By the halfway mark, Australia had 172 on the board and the carnage continued with both openers reaching three figures off successive deliveries in the same over.

Even though no wickets fell for the first 33.4 overs of the contest, the next two balls produced wickets in a much-needed relief for Pakistan. Marsh was dismissed for 121 and Glenn Maxwell’s promotion didn’t work. Warner however managed to cut loose and managed to go past 150 for the seventh time in his career as Australia set themselves up for a big finish. At 297/3 after 40 overs. Australia were primed to touch 400. But there was a twist left in the tale as Pakistan staged an impressive comeback at the death once Warner fell for 163. Rauf and Shaheen kept pegging Australia back with regular wickets with the left-arm pacer managing to finish with a five-fer.

Chasing a daunting 368, Pakistan stuck to their template of not taking too many risks in the powerplay. Shafique targeted an erratic Mitchell Starc for a couple of boundaries in an over and Imam repeated the feat off Josh Hazlewood in the following over to give Pakistan a good start. After knocking off 59 runs in the powerplay, the openers stepped it up a bit with Shafique also finding a slice of luck when Sean Abbott dropped him near the boundary.

For the first time in World Cup history, all four batters managed to go past fifty as Pakistan slowly gained upper hand after a 15-run over from Maxwell. While the frontline bowlers struggled to give Australia the opening breakthrough, the golden arm of Marcus Stoinis dented Pakistan as Shafique miscued one to depart for 64. Another short ball from the allrounder saw the back of Imam as well and with both the set batters back in the pavilion, Australia seized control.

Zampa bagged the crucial wicket of Babar Azam as Pat Cummins took an excellent catch to get rid of his Pakistan counterpart. After 30 overs, Pakistan still had hopes, having already scored 200 but needed a partnership to steady the ship. Mohammad Rizwan and Saud Shakeel provided just that to keep Pakistan in the hunt. At one point, Pakistan appeared to be having momentum on their side with both Rizwan and Shakeel finding the boundary at regular intervals.

Even the wicket of Shakeel didn’t deter the men in green as Iftikhar Ahmed came out and hammered three sixes in the space of five deliveries to stun Australia. At that point, Pakistan needed 103 from 72 deliveries and were firmly in the contest before Zampa crushed their hopes. Both Iftikhar and Rizwan were trapped leg-before-wicket in successive overs by the legspinner and as a result the chase fizzled out. He finished his quota with another wicket off the last ball before Pakistan eventually fell short by 62 runs.

Brief scores: Australia 367/9 in 50 overs (David Warner 163, Mitchell Marsh 121; Shaheen Afridi 5/54) beat Pakistan 305 in 45.3 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 70, Abdullah Shafique 64; Adam Zampa 4/53) by 62 runs

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