In The Shape Of A Head Of Grows To Australia 327 > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - In-form top order propels Australia to 327

Khawaja missed a ton by 2 runs

Half-centuries from the top four saw Australia post a commanding 327 for 7 in the fifth and final ODI against Pakistan in Dubai, on Sunday. Usman Khawaja was unfortunate to miss out on a century, yet again, but top-scored with a 98, with Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh and skipper Aaron Finch all continuing their good form to notch up fifties.

Asked to bat first, Australia got off to a flying start courtesy Khawaja who took a liking to the pace duo of Mohammad Abbas and Junaid Khan to take his side to 57 without loss at the end of the powerplay. The Australian openers put up a 134-run stand where the left-hander played the aggressor while Finch held one end up. He brought up a 48-ball half-century, in the 14th over, while Australia had 76 on the board. Finch then picked up pace, hitting left-arm spinner Imad Wasim for a six and four to raise his fifty off 61 deliveries in the 21st over.

Usman Shinwari got Pakistan the much-needed breakthrough in the 24th over as he knocked off Finch's middle-stump with a swinging delivery that beat the Australian skipper's drive. However, there was little respite for the hosts as Khawaja and Marsh combined for another solid partnership, worth 80, to consolidate on the launchpad provided by the openers.

Approaching what could have been his first hundred of the series, Khawaja slowed down as soon as he entered 80s. From 80 off 79 balls, the opener consumed 31 balls for the next 18 runs before falling agonisingly short of the landmark, chipping one from Shinwari straight to midwicket. In the meanwhile, though, Marsh picked up pace and raced to a 53-ball fifty to take the visitors to 220/2 at the end of 40 overs. This was Marsh's second half-century of the series, and 15th overall in ODIs.

Coming in at No. 4, Maxwell got going with a boundary short straight up and then laid into Yasir Shah, who returned into the attack in the 41st over with three more hits to the fence to up the ante in the death overs. Junaid Khan came next in the firing line, dispatched or a four and six off consecutive balls. Maxwell's was the fastest fifty of the four Australian batsmen, taking only 26 deliveries and not slowing down the momentum even as he lost a well-set Marsh at the other end.

This was Maxwell's third fifty on the trot and 19th overall to make his 100th ODI memorable, and came a strike-rate consistently above 200. Shinwari and Junaid threatened to stall Australia's charge with five wickets in quick succession but Maxwell's 33-ball 70 had set them up for a daunting total. Despite the late fightback, Pakistan couldn't prevent Australia from leaving them with the highest chase of the series to avoid the embarrassment of a whitewash at home in UAE.

Brief scores: Australia 327/7 in 50 overs (Usman Khawaja 98, Glenn Maxwell 70, Sahun Marsh 61, Aaron Finch 53; Usma Shinwari 4-49, Junaid Khan 3-73) vs Pakistan.

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