Pakistan Caught Briefly In Spite Abid Ali Named Rizwan Tons > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Pakistan caught short despite Abid Ali, Rizwan tons

Abid Ali celebrates after his 100 on debut

Pakistan will wonder how this one got away. They had two centurions in a chase of 278 and still ended up losing the fourth ODI against Australia by six runs. Abid Ali, one of two debutants in the Imad Wasim-led side, scored 112 off 119 and shared a 144-run stand for the third wicket with the Mohammad Rizwan (104 off 102) but the collective inexperience of this second-string side was laid bare as they failed to kick on at the right time leaving themselves 0-4 down in the series and facing a very real threat of getting clean swept in the home conditions at UAE.

Australia, meanwhile, have been given another dose of optimism as the prospect of a successful title defence is no longer simply wishful thinking. Today's win, characterised by the typical Aussie doggedness, will be a massive injection of confidence heading into their final game of preparation ahead of the World Cup.

Australia had a competitive score - 277 - on a spinning wicket, but without the ever-reliable Pat Cummins (rest), the bowling attack was rendered particularly insipid by the combined brilliance of Abid Ali and Mohammad Rizwan. The hosts got off to an ominous start when Shan Masood was castled by Nathan Coulter-Nile in the first over of the chase.

The 31-year-old Abid made a sparkling start, hitting two boundaries of a Coulter-Nile and another couple of Kane Richardson to get the chase underway. But while he kept the scoreboard ticking over smoothly, his partner Haris Sohail struggled to turn the strike over and hogged as many as 23 dot balls in his innings of 25 off 43 so much so that when he was dismissed, Pakistan already had to chase above a run-a-ball.

Mohammad Rizwan helped address the rut and enjoyed a fruitful association with Abid. The pair hit 18 boundaries between themselves and as each neared his respective hundred in the final chapter of the chase, only one result - a Pakistan win - seemed plausible. Pakistan were thrown off course as a nervous Abid Ali tapped the ball around for singles in the 90s. He got the milestone off the 111th ball he faced, but unfortunately for Pakistan, he was dismissed a couple of overs later by Adam Zampa.

Australia sensed their chance and went into the attack. Umar Akmal and the other debutant Saad Ali fell for scores of 7 each while stand-in captain Imad Wasim followed suit at an inopportune moment in the 49th over with 21 needed off 9. Rizwan, who'd gotten to his second ODI ton in the same over, hit a four but was unable to keep strike for the final over bowled by Marcus Stoinis. He holed out at deep mid-wicket off the second ball, effectively sealing the deal in the visitors' favour.

Earlier in the day, Australia, put into bat, overcame a mid-innings hiccup thanks to a a 134-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey. Maxwell fell two short of his 100, attempting a non-existent second run while Carey made an assured 55. Usman Khawaja also scored a half-century before Pakistan's spinners orchestrated a middle-overs choke through spin.

Australia, who had made a bright start, succumbed to the spin of Imad and Yasir through the middle overs and slumped to 140 for 5 before Maxwell orchestrated the rescue. In Carey he had a partner who could nudge the singles at will. Once the tough Imad-Yasir Shah phase was negated, the boundaries began flowing more freely. By the 40th over, the pair had nudged the score to 191 for 5 and set Australia up for a launch in the final 10. That push came courtesy Maxwell, who more than doubled his score (he was on 48) with a flurry of boundaries. He reached 97 at the start of the final over, having hit nine fours and three sixes. A second ODI century seemed inevitable before it was cruelly snatched away as Maxwell was run-out for 98.

Carey too, fell off the final ball of the innings but not before he'd played a crucial hand in helping Australia add 86 in the final 10 overs of the innings, a defining period of play in determining the eventual result of the game.

Brief scores: Australia 277/7 in 50 overs (Glenn Maxwell 98, Usman Khawaja 62; Mohammad Hasnain 2-52, Yasir Shah 2-57) beat Pakistan 271/8 in 50 overs (Abid Ali 112, Mohammad Rizwan 104; Nathan Coulter-Nile 3-53) by 6 runs.

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