Spinners, Warner dismantle Pakistan

Glenn Maxwell spun out the first three Pakistan wickets on a slow turner as the hosts limped to 96 and lost the only T20 international to Australia by six wickets. Had it not been for 20 extras, the second-highest contributor to the innings after debutant Saad Nasim‘s 25, Pakistan would have struggled to get anywhere close to 100. Pakistan’s spinners, in the absence of the banned Saeed Ajmal, hit back to have Australia 56 for 4, but David Warner sealed the chase in 14 overs with an unbeaten 53 off 39.

Shahid Afridi had expected the pitch to play slow and low but it also had plenty of turn, as his top order was to find out after he chose to bat. Pakistan went too hard too soon, and Maxwell made them pay. Awais Zia forced a mis-hit to mid-off, Umar Amin was stumped after a charge and a heave third ball, and Sohaib Maqsood played all around a turning offbreak.

Pakistan were 23 for 3 and slid further when Shehzad punched the legspinner Cameron Boyce to slip. Boyce, one of two international and four T20 debutants for Australia, settled down to bowl some lovely, flighted legbreaks.

To add to the capitulation to spin, Umar Akmal slogged at Kane Richardson’s fifth ball, and mid-off took the skier. Afridi was Pakistan’s final hope, but he missed his third delivery, a full one from Sean Abbott, to fall lbw.

The lower order, with help from Nasim, did well to bat out the 20 overs and stretch the score from 46 for 6 in the tenth over, but it was never really going to be enough, especially if one of Maxwell or Warner got going.

Maxwell did not last too long, although he got off the mark with a reverse-swept four over backward point off Raza Hasan. Afridi trapped him in front with a straighter one for 17 and Hasan took care of Aaron Finch and Steven Smith.

Just when it seemed another Pakistan attack would make a match out of almost nothing, Warner stepped up. With Pakistan playing only two frontline spinners in Hasan and Afridi, Warner went after the quicks, muscling them for boundaries before bringing up the win against the part-time slow bowlers. Pakistan had managed all of four fours and no sixes in their innings. Warner alone struck four fours and three sixes.

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