Australia scrape through for 1-0 lead
In a game which was a contest between which side was ready to hand over the advantage to the opposition, Australia managed to emerge victorious in a laborious 4-wicket win in the first ODI against Pakistan at Sharjah. This is the first instance when the men in yellow beat the Asian giants at this venue in an ODI. Also, the Aussies managed to stop a 4-match losing rut.
On an expected slow turner, Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq elected to bat. Australia had made a surprising decision to leave out front line spinner Xavier Doherty but that move paid rich dividends as the opening seamers struck thrice to leave Pakistan reeling at 40/3 by the end of the Quick Start Overs. Asad Shafiq and skipper Misbah then staged a fightback, adding 59 for the fourth wicket, making 23 runs in Powerplay 2.
After Misbah’s exit, Umar Akmal had a decent stand of 61 with Shafiq when Powerplay 3 was taken and that changed the course of the innings. Mitchell Starc struck thrice in the space of 15 balls to dismiss Shafiq, Kamran Akmal and Shahid Afridi, the last two in one over to concede just 16/3 in those 5 overs! Pakistan could not recover after that triple jolt and folded up for 198 with a good 29 balls to go.
Mitchell Starc was the destroyer-in-chief, taking his maiden ODI five-wicket haul and finished with a Bowling Efficiency of 312. James Pattinson was not far behind, with a value of 310 for his 3/19 in 9.1 overs. For Pakistan, Asad Shafiq(56) and Umar Akmal(52) earned Batting Momentum of 63 and 70 respectively.
Have a look at the scorecard.
In reply, Australia too, got off to a sluggish start, crawling to 13/1 in the the 4th over, losing David Warner early. Matthew Wade and Clarke then consolidated and raced to 40/1 by the end of the Quick Start Overs. Just when the going was steady for Australia, Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal struck in the space of 8 overs to have Australia reeling at 67/4 in the 18th over, and the tourists were losing their way, with just 19/2 coming in Powerplay 2.
The Aussies desperately needed a someone to hang in there with Clarke and George Bailey was the answer. He added a slow but steady 54 for the fifth wicket before the skipper was trapped LBW by Mohammad Hafeez, with another 68 runs needed. Out came the young Glenn Maxwell ahead of Daniel Christian.
Maxwell started off a bit in a haste, playing wild strokes but luckily had Bailey to calm him own. After he settled down, he went after the bowlers and the 44th over which went for 15 was the turning point of the match. The Aussies then raced to victory in the 49th over, losing Maxwell in the process.
Michael Clarke(66), George Bailey(57*) and a terrific cameo from Glenn Maxwell(38) were the chief contributors for Australia with the skipper finishing with the best Batting Momentum of 72. For Pakistan, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez finished with the same Bowling Efficiency of 242 but for different bowling figures - 3/30 and 2/29 respectively.
Australia finished with a Castrol Index of 49 to Pakistan’s 39. Batting Momentum and Powerplay 3 departments went to the Pakistanis, the rest to Australia.
Mitchell Starc was named the Man Of The Match for his wonderful spell of bowling and he finished with a Castrol Index of 68 and he, along with James Pattinson, were the top performers of the match according to Castrol Index. For Pakistan, Saeed Ajmal was their best bet with a value of 57 on the Index. The second ODI will be played at Abu Dhabi on Sunday, 31st August 2012, at 1400 GMT.