Abu Dhabi: Glenn Maxwell bowled a maiden final over and got two wickets to seal a thrilling one-run win for Australia in the third and final one-day international against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Pakistani batsman Sarfaz Ahmed looks at Australian bowler Glenn Maxwell during the third One Day International (ODI) cricket match in Abu Dhabi. Pic/AFP
Chasing a modest 232-run target, Pakistan needed just two runs in the final over but Maxwell (2-41) kept his cool dismissing Sohail Tanvir (10) with the second ball of the 50th over and Mohammad Irfan (nought) with the final ball to complete Australia's 3-0 series whitewash. It was Australia's third cleansweep against Pakistan after a 3-0 win in Pakistan in 1998 and a 5-0 triumph on home ground four years ago.
Pakistan once again lived up to their reputation of throwing away a winning position as they needed just 28 runs to win with four wickets in hand at one stage. Tanvir and Zulfiqar Babar (14 not out) took them to within two runs of the win but Australia staged a strong comeback. For Pakistan, Asad Shafiq hit a solid 50 while Sohaib Maqsood made 34. "It's always tough to win a series overseas so it's very satisfying to win 3-0," said Australia captain George Bailey.
"We didn't quite play our best in all three games, but it's a positive when you find ways to win despite that." Pakistan were without captain Misbah-ul-Haq who surprisingly dropped himself after a poor run of scores, handing the captaincy to Shahid Afridi. "In the batting, from the first T20 till the last ODI, the thing we are missing is partnerships," said Afridi.
"The World Cup is not very far, and we have to learn quickly, it's the most important thing for us." With the series already in the bag, Australia rested paceman Mitchell Johnson and off-spinner Nathan Lyon who shared nine wickets in the first two matches. That significantly weakened the bowling attack as Pakistan raced to a solid 56-run start with Ahmed Shahzad (26) and Sarfraz Ahmed (32) batting with confidence.
But left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty provided Australia with a breakthrough when he bowled Shahzad with his first delivery. Pakistan lost two wickets at 80 with Ahmed run out and Fawad Alam scooping a catch off a miscued sweep off Doherty with slip fielder Smith running from slip to leg-slip to grab the ball.
Shafiq and Sohaib Maqsood, one of four changes in Pakistan side, added an invaluable 74 for the fourth wicket before Pakistan lost three wickets in the space of just 20 runs. Maqsood was caught off paceman Kane Richardson (2-36) who also had Afridi (two) and Shafiq fell to James Faulkner.
Umar Amin (19) and Anwar Ali (14) brought Pakistan close to the win but both fell within four runs of each other, leaving Pakistan at 208-8. Australia had got off to a confident start of 48 before Aaron Finch miscued a drive and was caught at mid-off for 18. Steve Smith added an invaluable 54 for the second wicket with Warner as Australia tried to consolidate the innings.
Warner hit spinner Zulfiqar Babar for six to reach his ninth half-century off 41 balls before he gave a return catch to Afridi. Bailey fell for nought while Maxwell holed out off Afridi for 20. Paceman Tanvir then had Smith, who hit an impressive 77, Phil Hughes (five) and James Faulkner (33) to finish with 3-40 in his ten overs while Afridi finished with 2-44. Both teams now play a two-match Test series with the first starting in Dubai from October 22.