• Finch on song again with undefeated 155

    Australia took a 2-0 lead in their five-match ODI series against Pakistan at Sharjah on Sunday, with skipper Aaron Finch scoring a second consecutive century in another emphatic win for a resurgent Australia.

    Pakistan set Australia a target of 285 off 50 overs, thanks to Mohammad Rizwan’s 126-ball innings of 115 (11×4, S/R 91.26). Rizwan got good support from skipper Shoaib Malik (60 off 61 balls, 3×4, 1×6, S/R 98.36) and Haris Sohail (34 off 46 balls, 5×4), but they struggled to force the pace at the end in order to set Australia a truly testing target.

    Jhye Richardson was exceptional in his five overs, returning figures of 5-2-16-2 (econ 3.20), with Nathan Coulter-Nile also picking up wickets, but at far greater expense (2-52, econ 7.42).

    Australia’s batting was once again on song as the opening pair of Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch put on 209 runs inside 37 overs. Khawaja was the first to go, caught by Imam-ul-Haq off Yasir Shah for 88 runs off 109 balls, including eight fours.

    READ ALSO: Ominous Aussies raise the stakes with strong Pakistan win

    Finch and Glenn Maxwell added 32 runs for the second wicket before Maxwell was run out for 19 off 14 balls, including two sixes (S/R 135.71). Needing 44 runs from 52 balls, Shaun Marsh joined Finch, and the pair took Australia through to a comfortable eight-wicket win with 13 balls in hand.

    Marsh finished on 11 off 20 balls, while Finch scored a truly astonishing 155 not out off 143 balls, including 11 fours and six sixes (S/R 108.39). Australian fans will be buoyed by their side’s incredible upturn in fortunes, while England, India and South Africa will all be looking over their shoulder with concern ahead of the upcoming World Cup in England.

    Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

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    Simon Lewis