Sensational centuries from Imam-ul-Haq (106) and Babar Azam (114) in the second ODI against Australia helped Pakistan record their highest-ever run chase in the 50-over to win the match by six wickets at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Pakistan, whose bowlers were smashed all over the park in the second ODI, had to do something unbelievable to chase their highest total and level the three-match series.
Imam, having also scored a ton in the first game continued his rich form, as he notched yet another hundred. Imam, who is known for slow-paced batting in today’s fast cricket, changed his gears and adopted an aggressive style from the word go.
He and Fakhar Zaman (67) both forged a 118-run opening stand as they rotated the strike quite well and also played aggressively to keep the run rate a touch above six and over.
Medium-pacer Marcus Stoinis got rid of Fakhar with a brilliant change of pace delivery that com-pletely deceived him. And after that, Babar Azam also came out with a different plan. He showed some lovely stroke play and looked aggressive and reached the 15th ODI hundred in just 73 balls to bring Pakistan closer to a historic chase.
However, Australia roared back into the game, as they removed both Babar and Mohammad Rizwan (23) in space of 8 runs.
Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah showed re-sponsibility with their power-hitting skills to help Pakistan achieve the 27 runs with one over to spare.
Earlier, Ben McDermott played the innings of his career, scoring 104 runs off 108 balls to help Aus-tralia post a mammoth 348-8 in 50 overs at a hand-some run-rate of 6.96.
After being asked to bat first again, Australia lost their skipper Aaron Finch early in the innings, thanks to Shaheen Shah Afridi’s first-over-first-wicket trend.
But Travis Head and McDermott filled up the gap well, putting up 162 off 144 balls. The partner-ship saw the Aussies sailing away with perfect mo-mentum they gained from the previous game. Head, who scored his second hundred in first ODI, went on to score 89 off 70 laced with six boundaries and five maximums.
His aggressive spirit was highly impressed by McDermott who smashed 10 boundaries and four sixes.
Marnus Labuschagne, who wasn’t too impressive in the Test series, gained rhythm this time by scoring 59 runs including five boundaries. Marcus Stoinis just fell a run short of his fifty. His innings included five boundaries and a six.
Shaheen, who started off strongly for Pakistan – taking first wicket in first over was unfortunately left with no support from the other end. He bagged four wickets followed by Wasim Jr with two wickets and Zahid Mahmood and Khushdil Shah with a wicket each.—APP