Alexa Amir help Pakistan to bowl out Australia for 3 7

Amir help Pakistan to bowl out Australia for 307


Published: 19:37 12 June 2019   Updated: 19:37 12 June 2019

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

Pakistan bowled defending champions Australia out for 307 in the first innings of the 17th match of the World Cup 2019 at Taunton on Wednesday.

Left-arm quick Mohammad Amir's outstanding bowling saw him pick up his first five-wicket haul in the One Day International format. According to cricket statistician Mazher Arshad, Amir's 5-30 are the best bowling figures for Pakistan in a World Cup match against a Test-playing team.

The Aussies maintained a steady strike rate throughout their innings despite the rapid fall of middle-order wickets following the termination of the opening partnership between Aaron Finch and David Warner.

The 146-run Finch-Warner partnership disintegrated after a breakthrough by Amir. Finch tried to smash Amir for a boundary but got caught out by Mohammad Hafeez in the 23rd over with 82 runs off his opening partnership with David Warner (61).

Mohammad Hafeez takes a catch to dismiss Aaron Finch. ─ AFP
He was succeeded by shamed Australian star Steve Smith, who is back in action following a year-long ball for his role in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked Australia during their tour of South Africa in 2018.

There were fears that Pakistani cricket fans would boo Smith after a large number of Indian fans chanted "cheater" at him at The Oval against India on Sunday. But there has not been a single boo for either Smith or Warner in Taunton. The latter had also faced a 12-month suspension by Cricket Australia for his part in a ball-tampering scandal during a 2018 Test match in South Africa.

Asif Ali caught Smith out for 10 off a delivery from Hafeez in the 29th over. His successor, Glenn Maxwell, was bowled by Shaheen Shah Afridi, who then went onto take Warner's all-important wicket in the 38th over after a century came up for the Aussie batsman.

Warner edged between wicketkeeper and slip for a boundary and took off to punch the air to celebrate his first century since returning to Australia's team following his ban. He stroked 11 boundaries and a six from 102 balls to reach his hundred in the 36th over of the match.

Mohammad Amir struck again in the 43rd over, getting Usman Khawaja to send a drive straight to Wahab Riaz on the circle at mid-off. Two overs later, he had Shaun Marsh caught at long off by Shoaib Malik.

Shortly after, Sarfaraz caught Coulter-Nile off a delivery from Wahab in the 47th over. In the next over, Hassan Ali got PJ Cummins out. Hassan's short ball caught Cummins by surprise. The pace was too much, and it was an easy catch for Sarfaraz.

Amir took two more wickets in the 49th over ─ Alex Carey on LBW and Mitchell Starc caught by Shoaib.

Australia survived a probing opening spell by Amir after being sent in to bat by Pakistan. Roared in by chants of “Amir, Amir” from the Pakistan fans in the crowd, the left-armer was on target right from the first ball of the match.

The men in green celebrate after Finch's dismissal. ─ AFP
That first over was a maiden and Amir bowled two in a four-over spell in which he conceded a mere 11 runs.

Finch should have been out for 26 in the 13th over when he edged Wahab Riaz, one of three left-arm quicks in the Pakistan side, only for first slip Asif Ali to drop a head-high chance that burst through his hands before going for four. At the end of the over, Finch was 35 not out and left-hander David Warner 33 not out.

Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed decided to give his bowlers first use of a green-tinged pitch under overcast skies.

But Shaheen Shah Afridi, drafted in as an extra seamer after Pakistan dropped leg-spinner Shadab Khan, was not as accurate in his first two overs as fellow left-arm quick Amir, giving away 24 runs, with Finch pulling a short ball for six and Warner also cashing in with a pulled four when Afridi failed to pitch up.