The weather in Taunton has been nothing short of horrendous since I arrived on Sunday! I had a ticket for the match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in Bristol yesterday, but opted for Rocket Man at the cinema instead. That match was abandoned without a ball being bowled, so, good choice!
Today the rain, at the moment has decided to stay away. Sarfraz won the toss and put Australia in to bat, neither team has picked their front line spinner, the young Pakistan bowled Shaheen Afridi makes his first appearance.
Aaron Finch and David Warner are opening the batting for Australia. Amir is opening the bowling for Pakistan. He starts with a maiden.
The 19 year old, Shaheen opens at the other end. Warner hits a 4 off his hip with the 2nd ball in the over. I’m pleased to report no boo’s for Warner so far. I’m also very happy to say I can see the scoreboard! So won’t have to search online for the score!
Having looked uncomfortable against Amir, Finch has just pulled his first Six into the stands from the bowling of Shaheen. That was his 100th Six in ODI’s, he’s an incredibly powerful batsman. With Michael Vaughan saying the ground wouldn’t allow 2’s, Warner and Finch have just run 3, Warner looks keen to lift his run rate after an apparently gentle innings against India.
Amir is having a much better time with the ball than Shaheen, with another maiden, he’s only conceded 3 runs from his 3 overs. 24 for Shaheen. That fact brings Hassan in to bowl at the other end. Hassan has to be one of the speediest bowlers around when it comes to getting back to his mark and running in again.
Hassan troubled Warner and conceded just one from his over. Australia are 36 for 0 after 7 overs, they reached their 50 in the 10th over, and are 56 for no loss after that over. Pakistan really need a wicket, Warner looks to be back to his old best.
Wahab came on to replace Amir and isn’t a happy man, Asif just dropped Finch, a difficult chance but a catch he should’ve taken! Australia are 76 for no wicket after 13 overs.
I do, of course, have a moan today. I’m sat close to a speaker, which is unbearably loud, especially when the guitar man does his thing. It’s going to get more annoying as the day progresses.
Wahab has just appealed an LBW, it looked high but the decision was umpires call so Pakistan keep their appeal.
Australia are 87 for 0 after 15 overs and Sarfraz has brought Hafeez on, Finch has brought both his own 50 and Australia’s 100 up in his over, the 17th of the game. David Warner has just reached his 50 with a 4 in the 22nd over, it was greeted with polite applause.
With Pakistan looking for a breakthrough Amir has been brought back, and he strikes! Finch tries to Sky the ball and is caught by Hafeez for 82, he played a superb innings. Australia are 146 for 1 and Steve Smith has joined Warner, again, not a boo to be heard.
Pakistan’s next appeal was a crazy one for LBW, an Amir ball it was pitching outside, by a mile! Australia have moved to 165 for 1 after 25 overs.
The Pakistan bowlers, other than Amir, and fielders haven’t done their captain too many favours. However as I type Steve Smith is caught by Asif from the bowling of Hafeez! Out for 17, Australia are 187 for 1 after 28.2 overs.
Smith leaving has brought Glen Maxwell in to bat, he’s scored 20 from 8 balls so far, having just hit a straight Six down the ground, a great shot! But he wasn’t to stay for long, Shaheen obliterated Maxwell’s stumps, no need to worry about the bails coming out, the stump came out of the ground!
David Warner has just reached his century, to applause, which is good, I’m so glad the crowd are enjoying the cricket and forgetting to boo. Asif has just dropped Warner from the bowling of Wahab, again, a simpler catch this time, he really should’ve taken it! Wahab does angry very well, he rightly looks furious!
Shaheen was luckier with the catcher, Imam took the catch when Warner hit the ball high, he was out for 107, a delightful innings to watch! And great to see him clapped off.
Australia are 244 for 4 in the 39th over. In looking for a wicket Amir has come back on and he takes a wicket with his first ball! Khawaja caught Wahab! No bad atmosphere between those 2! Khawaja is Out for 18, Australia are 277 for 5 in the 43rd over.
Amir strikes again! Marsh goes for it and is caught by Shoaib for 23! Australia are 291 for 6. Amir is currently 3 for 25 with an over to go.
Confusion reigned with the next over, Amir got ready to bowl, but Wahab took the ball, he also took the wicket! Coulter-Nile edged to Sarfraz, Out for just 2. Pakistan have restricted Australia well here! They’re 300 for 7 after 47 overs.
Hassan was desperately in need of a wicket and Lo, Pat Cummins obliges! With his bat held high he edged the ball to Sarfraz, Out for 2. Australia are 302 for 8 with 2 overs remaining.
And Amir strikes again! He bowls a Yorker and traps Carey LBW for 20! The vocal Pakistan fans in the crowd were shouting for 5 and Amir obliged! Mitch Starc went for a big shot and was caught on the boundary by Shoaib for 3. Australia were bowled out for 307, a much lower total than expected after their start! Well played Pakistan! Amir finished with figures of 5 for 30 from his 10 overs, outstanding!
Pakistan haven’t quite had the start they needed, Fakhar is out, caught Kane Richardson bowled Pat Cummins for a Duck. Pakistan are 2 for 1 in the 3rd over.
Things have moved on with Imam and Babar at the crease, making the most of the Australian pace, Pakistan are 35 for 1 after 7.2 overs. The 50 had just come up in the 10th over. Imam is on 21 and Babar 26.
Having typed that Babar has just hooked a ball to a very similar spot to Fakhar to be caught by Richardson from the bowling of Nathan Coulter-Nike. Pakistan are 56 for 2.
Hafeez played a big part in the win against England, what can he do here? Hafeez has made his way to 44, He and Imam looked comfortable until Imam swiped at a high ball from Cummins, he was inevitably caught by Carey for 53. Poor from Imam, after a steady innings. Pakistan are 137 for 3 in the 26th over
In an inspired piece of captaincy Finch brought himself on to bowl, Hafeez went for a full toss pie of a ball, looking for a boundary he found the hands of Starc and is out for 46. Pakistan are 146 for 4.
And the horror continues for Pakistan as Shoaib goes for a Duck, caught by Carey from the bowling of Cummins. That means we get blasted by the extraordinarily loud guitar! Please, no more wickets for a while Pakistan!
Asif isn’t going to make up for his 2 dropped catches, he’s out for 5, caught by Carey from the bowling of Richardson. Pakistan, in collapse mode, are 160 for 6 after 30 overs. They’re running out of batsmen!
However Hassan is doing a good impression of being a batsman! The scoreboard has been very confused, they had him down as Amir, he’s scored 17, but they took a run off the score! Pakistan are 191 for 6 after 33 overs. They need 117 from 17 overs.
Hassan carried on hitting, getting to 32 he went for a big one from Richardson and has been caught on the boundary by Khawaja. Pakistan are 200 for 7, they require 108 from 16.1 overs.
Wahab has joined his captain. At this point I had to concentrate on the match fully. The pair batted for just under 9 overs, adding 64, Wahab made 45 of those runs, including 2 Fours and 3 Sixes, entertaining to say the least! Pakistan needed 44 from 5.4 overs.
Amir can hold a bat, but he’d had his heroics with the ball, it wasn’t to be his day with the bat, he was bowled by Starc for a Duck on his second ball. That left Shaheen to bat with Sarfraz. He saw out the rest of Starc’s over, but I do feel Sarfraz was wrong to let him take a single on the last ball of the over, he should’ve stayed put. Sarfraz was really the best chance Pakistan had of winning the match.
As it was, a superb piece of fielding from Glenn Maxwell saw Sarfraz run out in the 46th over, Pakistan were all out for 266, giving Australia a win by 41 runs. A thoroughly entertaining game of cricket, which was polished off for me by David Warner coming to the crowd and taking as many selfies and giving as many autographs as people wanted. Me included!
Next up for me is Pakistan v India at Old Trafford, a long journey from Taunton, but hopefully a worthwhile one. Another day spent with joyous Pakistan fans it’ll be great no matter what!