Choked Aussies fume at bizarre farce
PAKISTAN survived an onslaught by big hitter Glenn Maxwell to win the second Twenty20 international by 11 runs in a last over finish against Australia in Dubai on Friday.
Maxwell hit a chancy 37-ball 52 with four boundaries and a six but could not score the 23 runs required in the final overas Australia -- chasing 148 to win -- ended up at 136-8 in their 20 overs at Dubai stadium.
Pakistan were lifted to 147-6 by Babar Azam (45) and Mohammad Hafeez (40) after Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and opted to bat.
Pakistan won the first match by 66 runs in Abu Dhabi. The third and final match is also in Dubai on Sunday.
The win is skipper Sarfraz's 10th T20 series win since taking over as captain in September 2016, including a tri-series win in Zimbabwe in July this year.
That highlights Pakistan's number one ranking in the shortest format as they powered Australia for a second match running.
Australia were once again derailed at the outset with D'Arcy Short run out for two in a controversial manner with replays showing he had grounded the bat but was given out by television umpire Riaz Rashid.
Maxwell shot a barb at the third umpire after the match, suggesting they hit the wrong button on the desk.
"We certainly had a view as a team that we thought his bat was clearly grounded behind the line," Maxwell said after the series flop.
"Maybe the third umpire pressed the wrong button. We've all made mistakes. As we probably saw it in the change rooms, there wasn't really any doubt.
"I think if you even look at the way he's holding his bat, it's very hard to hold it above the line with the bat sitting out of his gloves."
Sarfraz rebutted the Aussie's claim, insisting Short's bat was on the ground.
"I don't know why (there was) so much reaction because clearly it is out," he said.
"The bat is not on the ground."
The skipper was also full of praise for his team and Shaheen. "It's not easy to win 10 series on the trot in the T20 format," said Sarfraz. "The way we have played and improved has beenvery good. We have improved batting, bowling and fielding, and our management deserves credit.
"I was confident of Shaheen bowling the last over, he may be inexperienced but he showed that he has the capacity to be abig bowler." Australian captain Finch said his players were too cautious. "We were probably just a bit tentative in the first six overs of batting," said Finch. "Being six down last game, we tried to be conservative. And when Pakistan put the squeezeon you, it can get tough. They are No.1 for a reason." Finch (three) and big hitter Chris Lynn (seven) failed for a secondmatch running as Australia were struggling at 31-3.
Maxwell, dropped thrice on 18, 34 and 52, then added 30 for the fourth wicket with Mitchell Marsh (27) but Pakistan continued to take wickets to keep the Australian chase in check.
When Marsh and Ben McDermott (three) fell in quick succession Australia were in danger of falling to another under-100 total but Maxwell and Nathan Coulter-Nile fought hard during their 59-run seventh wicket stand.
When Shaheen Shah Afridi started the last over Australia needed 23 to win. Coulter-Nile hit a towering six off the first ball and then took a single but Maxwell holed out off the next ball to end all hopes of an Australian win.
Shaheen took 2-35 while spinner Shadab Khan finished with 2-30. Pakistan's total was built around a solid 70-run partnership between Azam and Hafeez who built the innings after Fakhar Zaman was out for 11 with the score at 29.
Azam hit three boundaries in his 44-ball knock while Hafeez was in a more punishing mood, smashing two sixes and three boundaries off 34 deliveries.
Shoaib Malik, who came in for Hussian Talat in the team, made 14 while Faheem Ashraf made 17 not out.
Coulter Nile was the best Australian bowler with 3-18 while Billy Stanlake took 2-36.
- with AFP