Australia v Pakistan, 2nd ODI: 5 Talking Points

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Mohammad Hafeez Pakistan
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 15: Mohammad Hafeez of Pakistan bats during game two of the One Day International series between Australia and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 15, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

What a comeback it turned out to be for Pakistan as they registered their maiden victory on their Tour Down Under by defeating the Aussies by 6 wickets in the 2nd encounter at MCG to level the 5 match series 1-1. Pakistan rode on a brilliant opening spell by comeback man Junaid Khan and Mohammad Amir to restrict the Aussies to 220. Mohammad Hafeez stroked his way to a brilliant half-century and Shoaib Malik remained unbeaten on 42 to ensure Pakistan reached the victory target quite comprehensively at the end. Here we have a look at 5 Talking Points from the humdinger

Here we have a look at 5 Talking Points from the humdinger

1.  Junaid Khan’s impressive comeback

Left-arm seamer Junaid Khan made an impressive comeback and returned with figures of 2/40 in his 80 overs. Despite being a tad expensive during the later stages, Junaid was terrific upfront and provided the visitors with the much-needed breakthroughs during the first powerplay.

After an impressive start by openers David Warner and Usman Khawaja, Junaid stalled their progress by removing David Warner in the final delivery of the 6th over.It was a good delivery from Junaid which shaped away just a tad from a back of a length region which tempted the batsman to go after it as there was enough width. Warner played it with an angled bat which took the edge and was safely caught by Mohammad Rizwan behind the stumps.

Junaid added another in a matter of minutes as he removed Usman Khawaja in his very next over. It was a good length delivery which took the edge of Khawaja and was brilliantly caught by Sharjeel Khan stationed at the slip cordon. Though the umpires went upstairs for a confirmation, replays showed Sharjeel had taken a clean catch.

Junaid inflicted a brilliant run-out during his final spell when he ran out Mitchell Starc to reduce the hosts to 207/8 in 46 overs. He would be pretty pleased with the way things panned out.

Also read: Twitter Reactions: Mohammad Hafeez led Pakistan dominate Aussies in the 2nd ODI

2. Mohammad Amir’s brilliant spell

The spearhead of the Pakistan bowling attack Mohammad Amir looked off colour during his first couple of overs but came back strongly to remove Mitchell Marsh during the fag end of his opening spell. He bowled a length delivery outside the off stump to lure the batsman into the drive. He didn’t time it properly and ended up giving away a simple catch to Imad Wasim stationed in the short cover region.

Amir came back strongly in his final spell and wiped off the Australian tail by dismissing Pat Cummings and James Faulkner in successive deliveries. Cummings couldn’t control the hook shot and ended up giving an easy catch to the fine leg fielder while Faulkner also failed to time a short outside the off stump delivery and ended up giving an easy catch to the point fielder.

3. Imad Wasim’s wonderful spell

Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim continued to have a great time in the limited overs format as he finished with impressive figures of 2/37 in his allotted 10 overs. He was the one who stalled Australia’s progress in the middle overs which eventually didn’t allow them to score big.

Imad was introduced in the attack in the 13th over of the innings and he didn’t allow the star-studded Aussie batsman to get away. Not a big turner of the ball, Imad relied on his cutters and quicker ones to produce the goods for the visitors. He was removed from the attack by Mohammad Hafeez after 2 overs to keep him fresh.

He returned in the 23rd over and eventually got his first breakthrough in the 27th over when he removed the hard-hitting Glenn Maxwell. It was quicker delivery from the left-arm spinner which went and crashed onto the stumps. He added one more to kitty when he removed Aussie captain Steve Smith with a slower trajectory delivery. Smith was way too early into the shot as the ball hit the timbers.

4. Mohammad Hafeez’s match-winning knock

It has been a dream comeback for Mohammad Hafeez in Pakistan colours as a few days before he wasn’t even selected for the squad and now he is the captain of the side who has just completed their maiden win against Australia in the tour.

Chasing a modest 221 to win, Pakistan began in a shaky note as both openers Sharjeel Khan and Hafeez was troubled the Aussie pacers. Hafeez employed the cautious approach upfront as he didn’t score a run for the first 7 deliveries. But as he came into his groove it became very difficult for the Aussies to dislodge him.
He struck some wonderful shots en route to his half-century.

Especially his fierce square cut of Mitchell Starc was the shot of the day and he followed it up with some crisp drives of Cummins. The right-hander reached his half-century in the 25th over of Mitchell STarc as he flicked a middle and leg delivery to the deep boundary on the leg side. He was eventually dismissed by James Faulkner on 72.

5. Shoaib Malik stays till the end to ensure Pakistan’s victory

Shoaib Malik came in after the fall of Babar Azam’s wicket during a crucial juncture of the game. He lost his partner Mohammad Hafeez shortly after but never allowed the pressure to get better of him. He batted brilliantly with Asad Shafiq to ensure Pakistan reached the modest victory target without any further hiccups.

Malik struck some terrific boundaries, none better than the on the up against cover drive of the bowling of Pat Cummins. He also struck a monstrous six of Josh Hazlewood and remained unbeaten on 42 of 52 deliveries. He struck 5 fours and a six during his fine innings as Pakistan reached the target with 14 balls remaining.

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