Pakistan failed to capitalise on Mohammed Amir’s brilliance with the ball and their late revival with the bat against Australia in Taunton, thereby hurting their own chances of progression at the 2019 World Cup. Here’s Sam Morshead’s report from the 2020 Wisden Almanack.
Australia v Pakistan
Match 17, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton
June 12, 2019
Pakistan twice came back from the dead, only to flatline at the crucial moment. First Mohammad Amir rattled through the middle order after Australia had reached 189 for one, to leave an achievable target of 308, then Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz gave them an unexpected chance with the bat. Ultimately, though, the Pakistan fans who had flocked to Taunton in wintry conditions were left disappointed – and their team’s World Cup hopes hanging by a thread.
Australia had struggled against the nibble and swing of Amir, who routinely beat Finch and Warner early on; Wahab, meanwhile, had Finch dropped in the slips by Asif Ali on 26. Once the pitch settled, however, so did the Australians. The openers paced their innings superbly, upping the aggression against the part-time off-breaks of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, both playing ahead of frontline leg-spinner Shadab Khan.
Finch fell for 82, but Warner went on to a century – his first in international cricket since the Boxing Day Ashes Test of 2017, and his first in 37 innings in England. He later admitted wondering during his ball-tampering exile whether he would ever score another for his country. Amir collected five for 30, his first such haul in ODIs, but lacked support: his team-mates managed five for 267.
Then, despite Imam-ul-Haq’s diligent half-century, Pakistan were struggling for oxygen at 160 for six after 30 overs. Sarfraz Ahmed held firm, and lusty blows from Hasan and Wahab lifted them to 264 for seven with 35 balls left. But Wahab was given out on review after edging Starc to Carey, and the end followed swiftly – to Australia’s relief.
First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack