In the 18th match of ICC World Cup 2023, five-time World Champions Australia beat Pakistan by 62 runs in a high-scoring match. Pakistan suffered their second loss in a row after kicking off their World Cup campaign with two wins. On the other side, Australia is on the winning track after losing their first two matches in the ongoing mega tournament.
On Friday, Pakistan won the toss, and Captain Babar Azam put Australia into bat first at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. The Australian batters took full advantage of a good batting track and some wayward bowling by the Pakistani bowlers.
Australian Openers’ Fireworks
Openers David Warner and Mitchell Marsh attacked Pakistani bowlers from the start of their inning. Usama Mir dropped a very simple catch of Warner at mid-off on Shaheen Afridi’s bowling. Warner took full advantage of the lifeline and went on to score a brilliant century. He and his opening partner, Mitchell Marsh, put on an opening partnership of 259 runs before Marsh got out after scoring 121 runs on 108 balls. David Warner continued his brilliant batting from the other end as he saw wickets falling down on the other end. He got out after scoring a brilliant knock of 163 runs from 124 balls.
Australian top-order batters had already caused damage when Pakistani bowlers returned in the final fifteen overs, so it was too late. Eventually, Australia managed to score 367 runs for the loss of nine wickets.
Shaheen Afridi took five wickets for his side, but the talking point was Haris Rauf’s performance; he gave away 83 runs in eight overs at an economy rate of 10.83 runs per over.
Having one of the best bowling attacks in the world, Australia would have thought that they’d already won the game as Pakistan came to chase a massive target of 368 runs. But Pakistani openers had other plans, as they started the chase with a positive intent and an attacking mindset. Abdullah Shafique and Imam Ul Haq took on Australian bowlers and hit beautiful shots all around the ground. Both batters scored half-centuries, but unfortunately, they couldn’t replicate how Australian openers converted their starts into big 100s. After a good start, Pakistan lost their first wicket in the 22nd century when Abdullah lost his wicket after scoring 64 runs. The openers put on a good partnership of 132 runs. Imam followed Abdullah to the dressing room after losing his wicket after scoring 70 runs. Skipper Babar Azam again failed to score runs in the World Cup; he scored only 14 runs before he got caught out trying a pull shot on mid-wicket. Rizwan and Saud Shakeel batted sensibly for the fourth wicket.
At one stage, it seemed like Pakistan would cross the line when they needed 105 runs from 75 balls with six wickets in hand. Eventually, the target of 368 proved very big for the Pakistani team. Pakistani batters showed a good fight, but they fell 62 runs short. The whole team got out for 305 runs in the 46th over.
Pakistan needs to come back strong in their upcoming matches to keep their chances of qualifying for the knockout stage. Still, there’s a long way to go in the tournament. Pakistan will play their next match against Afghanistan on Monday.