• Finch ton fires Aussies to victory

    Australian captain Aaron Finch smashed a century against Pakistan to help his side to an eight-wicket win and bag Friday’s Play of the Day, writes ANITHA MADIKIZELA.

    The opening batsman seems to be finding his form at the right time in the buildup to Australia’s May title defence of the World Cup in England. The visitors clinched a composed eight-wicket victory over Pakistan in Sharjah to go 1-0 up in the five-match ODI series.

    This marks the Aussies’ fourth win in a row following their come-from-behind ODI series win over India, having been 2-0 down on their tour of the subcontinent.

    READ MORE: Aussies muscle India out for series win

    After they won the toss, and electing to bat first, Pakistan posted 280-5 on a batting-friendly surface with Haris Sohail starring with the bat for the home side. The left-hander scored a maiden ODI century (115 balls, 6×4, 1×6) to propel Pakistan to the total with Nathan Coulter-Nile (2-61) causing the most damage by the Australian bowlers.

    Finch, who opened alongside Usman Khawaja (24), scored a blistering 116 at the top of the innings to set up the victory for the visitors. He faced 135 balls and smashed eight fours and four sixes off those deliveries to all but see Australia over the line.

    His partnership with Shaun Marsh for the second wicket – who in turn made a statement with his unbeaten 91 (4×4, 2×6) –  yielded 172 runs before Australia’s skipper was dismissed by Mohammad Abbas (1-44 in 10 overs) at the tail-end of the innings.

    Marsh partnered with Peter Handscomb (30 not out) to marshal the visitors over the line, and to an ideal start to their tour of the United Arab Emirates.

    READ ALSO: Finch hopes Aussies keep momentum from India win

    Pakistan will hope to learn from their mistakes and bounce back quickly in the second ODI at the same venue on Sunday to put an end to Australia’s momentum in the buildup to their World Cup title defence.


    Photo: Francois Nel/Getty Images