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Australia made it two wins in a row as their 2023 Cricket World Cup campaign gained momentum in a high scoring contest in Bengaluru against Pakistan.
This was a day for the opening batters with the bowlers on both sides taking plenty of tap. A quick outfield saw most balls which pierced the ring racing to the fence and when the bowlers did force an error from the batters, many a dolly-catch was put down.
Pakistan won the toss with Babar Azam and decided to field first whilst announcing one change to his side which caught many cricket fanatics by surprise as his left-hand man, all-rounder and vice-captain Shadab Khan, was left out of the team with Usama Mir coming in.
For Australia, Pat Cummins kept faith with the same XI who had delivered the win over Sri Lanka earlier in the week.
Australia’s openers were in the mood to take no prisoners today and they posted their highest ever Cricket World Cup first wicket partnership. David Warner was put down twice on his way to the top score in the tournament so far, surpassing Devon Conway’s 152* against England, before he was eventually dismissed for 163 runs from 124 balls with a Player of the Match innings. And on his 32nd birthday, the man they call ‘the Bison’ – Mitch Marsh, had a day to remember as he plundered 121 from 108 balls.
But in spite of Australia’s openers putting on 259 inside 34 overs, it was Pakistan who went into the innings break in the more chipper mood after restricting the green and gold to 367-9. Shaheen Shah Afridi took 5-51 and although Haris Rauf conceded his highest ever total of ODI runs (83), and from only 8 overs, he also picked up 3 wickets.
Pakistan knew they needed a strong foundation at the top of their order and they got it with half-centuries from both Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq with dropped chances by Cummins and sub Abbott. But where Warner and Marsh kicked on to three figures, the Pakistan openers were dismissed for 64 and 70.
Many of Pakistan’s subsequent batters got going and threatened to make the pursuit a close one but none could make it to 50 and Australia were able to turn the screw after the fifth wicket fell on 269 with 11.1 overs remaining.
Adam Zampa was the difference with the spinner going past 150 wickets as he returned figures of 4-53. Glenn Maxwell was the only bowler to go wicketless for Australia with Mitchell Starc keeping up his impressive record of picking up at least one wicket in every Cricket World Cup game he has played!
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