2019 Cricket World Cup – Australia v Pakistan: Battling hard, doing enough

Pakistan have always been a dangerous prospect.


They can produce the most scintillating day of cricket. Fearsome fast bowling. Precise fielding. Daring batting.


But when it goes wrong, it goes so badly wrong.


So far in this World Cup, the Pakistanis have given us the best and the worst. They went from a dismal batting collapse against the West Indies to a dominant all-round display against tournament favourites England. How do you judge their form? Coming into their clash against Australia, anything could have happened. It just depended on which Pakistan team turned up.


Bowling first, their initial spell didn’t have the same bite that it did against England. Amir was the highlight of the bowling attack, being miserly and always challenging for wickets. But Warner was batting with a vengeance after his slow effort against India. Finch continued his strong form, picking up the run rate with a brutal 82 off 84 balls. He fell trying to up the ante against Amir. The onus was now on Warner. When Smith suffered the rarity of going out cheaply, responsibility fell on Warner once again. And instead of bringing out the best in him, it made him lose confidence and not strike the ball with the same force. The going became tougher, and we saw a different Warner.


Maxwell threatened to take the game away from Pakistan and blast Australia to a total over 350. Striking two fours and a six, he crumbled with a terrible shot once the pace bowlers returned. Fortunately, Warner grinded his way to his first international century since the ban. He looked stressed while working overtime to eek out singles and edges. When nicking his way in between slip and keeper to bring up the ton, he looked relieved. The ugly hundred had to be done first. Now let’s hope the going becomes smoother in future.


But once Warner went out trying to swing hard, Australia’s middle and lower order got exposed. Marsh and Khawaja were sent in at difficult times for their natural games, and showed that they both can’t play in the same batting line up. This meant Carey was sent in too late. He never got the chance to bat with the freedom that yielded his breakneck half century against India. All momentum was lost, yet Australia scrambled to 307 all out – a capitulation that at least cleared the pass mark of 300.


With Pakistan having the mental edge, a fast start could have pushed them into the position of favourites. But Cummins continued his solid form with an early wicket. From then on, the going was as tough as it was for Warner. Pakistani batsmen came in to bat and performed well. Aggressive mindsets resulted in plenty of runs. Imam-ul-Haq and Hafeez went at a run rate that was freer than the Aussies managed to sustain, and nerves began to jitter. But key wickets came at critical times. Cummins and Finch provided dual breakthroughs that broke crucial partnerships.


When Cummins and Richardson broke through the middle order cheaply, the game looked nearly over. However, Riaz and Hasan Ali came out all guns blazing. Hitting towering sixes often, captain Ahmed stayed with them, giving Pakistan a fighting chance of an amazing victory. Viewers’ prediction polls swung Pakistan’s way. The ground was buzzing.


Enter Starc.


With Cummins and Richardson doing most of the damage, Starc came back into the attack for a withering beat down. Removing Riaz and then quickly bowling Amir, the game was firmly finished with a superb Maxwell direct hit run out.


Australia had survived a shock, and had scrapped their way to another vital win. Their form isn’t the best, but it’s enough to get over the line in the early stages of the World Cup.



Australia – 307 all out (49 overs)

Warner 107 (111 balls)                                                                     Amir 5/ 30 (10 overs)

Finch 82 (84)                                                                                      Afridi 2/ 70 (10)

Marsh 23 (26)                                                                                                Riaz 1/ 44 (8)


Pakistan – 266 all out (45.4)

Imam-ul-Haq 53 (75)                                                                        Cummins 3/ 33 (10)

Hafeez 46 (49)                                                                                    Starc 2/ 43 (9)

Riaz 45 (39)                                                                                        Richardson 2/ 62 (8.4)



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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  1. Nice to see A Finch back in form

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