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Dominant batting display seals victory for Australia in first ODI

Aussie captain Finch led from the front with a match-winning century

PHOTO: PCB

Australia captain Aaron Finch struck a brilliant century to steer Australia to a comfortable eight-wicket win over Pakistan in the first One-day International (ODI).

Finch and Opener Usman Khawaja set the pace early for the chase by scoring 61 for no loss in 10 overs.

All-rounder Faheem Ashraf provided the much-needed breakthrough for Pakistan by removing Khawaja for 24.

Lack of penetration from Pakistan bowlers and sloppy fielding allowed Finch to form an important partnership with left-handed batsman Shaun Marsh.

Their stand of 172 runs kept Australia in firm control of the chase.

Mohammad Abbas raised some hopes of a fightback when he removed Finch for 116.

However, an unbeaten 91 from Marsh secured the victory for Australia with relative ease.

Earlier, Pakistan posted 280-5 in their allotted 50 overs, after winning the toss and opting to bat first.

Despite losing Opener Imamul Haq early in the powerplay, top-order batsman Shan Masood found an able ally in middle-order batsman Haris Sohail.

However, Masood's debut ODI innings came to an end on 40, courtesy of pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile. 

Hard-hitting batsman Umar Akmal teed off from the get go and accelerated the innings, while Sohail played the anchor role. However, a mistimed shot on 48 put an end to Akmal’s innings, which was looking ominous for Australia.

Pakistan hopes of mustering a competitive total took a further hit, after the untimely dismissal of veteran all-rounder and stand-in captain Shoaib Malik for 11.

However, important contributions from all-rounders Imad Wasim (28) and Ashraf (28) helped Pakistan score 90 runs in the last 11 overs.

Sohail made a great comeback to the ODI side as he completed thousand ODI runs as well as his maiden ODI century. His unbeaten knock of 101 played a vital role in Pakistan’s quest of reaching a total of 280.

Aaron Finch was adjudged as the player of the match for his match-winning knock.