Australia bounce back in style
Australia thrashed Pakistan by 94 runs to gain a much-needed confidence boost ahead of the World Twenty20.
With the three-match series already beyond them heading into the final encounter, George Bailey’s side delivered a dominant performance in Dubai.
A total of 168 for seven was underpinned by a powerful opening stand of 111 between David Warner and Shane Watson, who struck 11 sixes between them.
Pakistan quickly subsided to 74 all out in reply to suffer their heaviest T20 defeat, with Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc claiming three wickets apiece. Brad Hogg returned 1-11 from four overs, the most economical figures for an Australian in the game’s shortest form.
If the designated hosts had high hopes of chasing down 169, they were quickly extinguished as Australia’s seamers ran riot.
Starc had Imran Nazir lbw and Kamran Akmal caught at mid-off either side of Cummins striking twice in his second over to account for Mohammad Hafeez, who drove to extra-cover and Shoaib Malik, bowled through the gate for a duck.
When Umar Akmal holed out to deep midwicket off Shane Watson, Pakistan were 19 for five and things hardly improved thereafter.
Nasir Jamshed’s 17 proved the highest score, with Abdul Razzaq and Yasir Arafat the only other men to reach double figures.
Australia’s innings had progressed much more smoothly, with Watson and Warner pressing the accelerator after seven overs.
Both batsmen had already hit one four and one six before taking control with a stunning flurry of maximums.
Watson cleared the ropes three times in Shoaib Malik’s first over and Warner then repeated the trick off Raza Hasan to leave Pakistan shellshocked.
A further two sixes came in the next over, bowled by Saeed Ajmal, and Warner helped himself to another before a wicket finally arrived.
Watson top-edged a hook at Yasir Arafat to short fine-leg, ending a 32-ball innings of 47, and the same bowler then had Warner, who blasted 59 from 34 deliveries, caught at point.
Glenn Maxwell kept Australia on the front foot with a breezy 27 and, although the remainder of the batting order failed to fire, their total was to prove well beyond Pakistan’s reach.