WC Warm-Up: Pakistan left with plenty to ponder following 14-run loss to Australia

Hyderabad, Oct 3 (PTI) The form of openers and bowlers remained a concern as Pakistan was handed a 14-run loss by Australia on the concluding day of the World Cup warm-ups here on Tuesday. David Warner (48 off 33) and Glenn Maxwell (77 off 71) got valuable time in the middle as Australia amassed 351 for seven after opting to bat.

Babar Azam (90 retired hurt) was once again amongst the runs while middle-order batter Iftikhar Ahmed (83 off 85) got a good hit batting at number four.

Pakistan should have closed down the chase comfortably but found a way to lose and ended at 337 all out with 12 balls to spare.

The form of openers especially Fakhar Zaman (22 off 24) has been a worry for a while and that did not change as he perished while trying to hit Maxwell out of the ground.

His opening partner Imam-Ul-Haq (16 off 11) hit a delightful straight drive and flick off Mitchell Starc before getting caught behind for the second consecutive innings.

Another opening option Abdullah Shafique (12 off 16), who batted at three as Babar wanted to give batting time to others, too did not last long.

At 83 for four in 15 overs, Pakistan had a mountain to climb but Babar, who came to bat at six, and Iftikhar changed the course of the innings with their free flowing strokeplay.

Babar decided to retire in order to give the lower-order the chance to finish the game.

Mohammad Nawaz (50 off 42) tried but could not take his team over the line. Pakistan were within touching distance of the target but ran out of wickets.

In the bowling department, the performance of Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf, who conceded 97 runs in nine overs, was a cause of a concern while bright spots were the spells of leggie Usamar Mir and medium pacer Hasan Ali who is expected to open the bowling alongside Shaheen Afridi in the team’s tournament opener against Netherlands on October 6.

From the Australian perspective, Maxwell was at his marauding best after coming from an ankle injury and that augurs well for him and his team going into the World Cup opener against India on October 8.

Known for his audacious strokeplay, Maxwell’s six off reverse sweep on Nawaz’s bowling stood out.

Warner, who did not bat in the first warm-up against Netherlands, too entertained the Hyderabad crowd with his fluent hitting which included two sixes off Rauf.

Skipper Pat Cummins, Sean Abbott and Mitchell Starc bowled six overs each. Australia used as many as eight bowling options including Steve Smith and Warner, who was hammered for 41 runs in two overs.

Source: PTI News


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