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Pakistan suffer defeat at hands of Australia in World Cup 2023 warm-up

Australia’s Glenn Maxwell (R) plays a shot during a warm-up match between Pakistan and Australia ahead of the ICC men’s cricket World Cup, at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad on October 3, 2023. — AFP

Australia on Tuesday defeated Pakistan by 14 runs in the nail-biting ICC Men’s ODI World Cup warm-up fixture at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, India.

Despite brilliant knocks from skipper Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed, the Men in Green fell short in the chase of 352 and suffered a loss in their second practice game.

Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq had given Pakistan a solid start with a partnership of 35 runs. Fakhar Zaman played some delightful shots but was eventually dismissed by a clever delivery from Glenn Maxwell. Pakistan had lost their first wicket.

Abdullah Shafique came in at number three but couldn’t make a big impact as he fell to Sean Abbott’s sharp bowling.

The highlight of Pakistan’s innings was Babar Azam, who was batting with elegance and grace. He was in sublime form, and his shots were a treat to watch. He had to retire himself but not before scoring a brilliant 90 runs from 59 balls.

Babar Azam was supported brilliantly by Iftikhar Ahmed as the duo posted a 144-run stand for the fifth wicket. Iftilkhar played a knock of 83 which included six fours and four sixes.

With Babar Azam’s departure, Mohammad Nawaz took over the reins. He played a fiery inning of 42-ball 50, smashing six boundaries and asix.

As the overs ticked away, Pakistan continued to score runs, thanks to some late fireworks from Usama Mir, and Hasan Ali. They added valuable runs while pursuing a target of 352.

Australia’s bowlers, including Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Sean Abbott, Marnus Labuschagne, and Mitchell Marsh, tried their best to contain Pakistan’s batsmen. Labuschagne was the pick of the bowlers, taking three crucial wickets.

In the end, Pakistan finished their innings with a total of 337 runs for the loss of nine wickets.

Earlier, Australian batters showed no mercy to Pakistani pacers in their innings as they posted a colossal total of 351 runs in 50 overs after opting to bat first.

Glenn Maxwell played a fine knock, scoring 77 off 71 with ten boundaries that went all over the ground, he was followed by Josh Inglis who helped the Aussies accelerate their innings in the last 10 overs and scored 48 off 30 with a handsome 160 strike rate.

Australia were off to a great start and were looking to hit the 100-run mark without losing a wicket when Usama Mir picked two wickets in two consecutive overs, removing their openers, David Warner and Mitchell Marsh for 48 and 31 respectively.

For Pakistan, Mir took two while Haris Rauf, Wasim Jr., and Shadab Khan took one wicket each.

Despite a wicket to his name, Rauf had a game to forget as he conceded 97 runs in just nine overs.

It must be noted that Shadab Khan led Pakistan in the absence of Babar Azam while Mohammad Haris replaced Mohammad Rizwan as the wicketkeeper. Australia won the toss and opted to bat first.

The ICC World Cup 2023 warm-up matches consist of 50 overs per side. However, these matches won’t have ODI status because teams will have the flexibility to include all 15 members of their squad in the playing XI.

Pakistan will play the Netherlands at the same venue on October 6 in their first World Cup game while Australia will travel to Chennai to play India on October 8.

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