Australia edged out Pakistan by 14 runs in a gripping warm-up match ahead of the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, India.
Starting strong, openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq set up a promising partnership of 35 runs before Zaman fell to Glenn Maxwell’s crafty delivery. Abdullah Shafique’s brief appearance ended with Sean Abbott’s lethal bowling, further setting back Pakistan’s chase.
The innings’ silver lining was the phenomenal performance by skipper Babar Azam, who showcased his elegant batting prowess with a swift 90 off 59 balls. Iftikhar Ahmed complemented him brilliantly, contributing a solid 83 runs featuring a series of boundaries. Mohammad Nawaz also played a pivotal role, contributing a rapid 50 off 42 balls. Towards the innings’ climax, Usama Mir and Hasan Ali accelerated the scoreboard but couldn’t push their side over the line.
Australia’s bowlers, spearheaded by Marnus Labuschagne with three vital wickets, were pivotal in defending the target. In total, Pakistan accumulated 337/9, falling short by 14 runs.
Australian Batting Might
Opting to bat first, Australia posted a formidable total of 351 runs in their allotted 50 overs. Glenn Maxwell’s explosive 77 off 71 balls and Josh Inglis’ brisk 48 off 30 provided the backbone to Australia’s innings. Their smooth sail was briefly interrupted by Usama Mir, who quickly dismissed openers David Warner and Mitchell Marsh.
Pakistan’s bowlers had a mixed day, with Mir shining with two wickets. However, Haris Rauf had an expensive spell, conceding 97 runs in nine overs. Notably, the Pakistani side saw Shadab Khan step in as captain in Babar Azam’s absence, with Mohammad Haris replacing Mohammad Rizwan behind the stumps.
Looking Ahead to the World Cup
The upcoming ICC World Cup 2023 warm-up matches, while played over 50 overs, won’t carry official ODI status. This format permits teams to test all 15 squad members in the playing XI, offering flexibility before the main event. Pakistan’s next face-off is against the Netherlands on October 6, while Australia sets its sights on a clash with India in Chennai on October 8.