Australia beat Pakistan by 62 runs in a high-scoring World Cup group game on Friday to get their campaign back on track with a second straight win thanks to brilliant centuries by openers David Warner and Mitchell Marsh.
Australia moved up to fourth in the standings — level with fifth-placed Pakistan on four points but with a better net run rate.
Pakistan won the toss and put Australia in to bat but skipper Babar Azam’s hopes of taking early wickets quickly evaporated when Warner (163) and Marsh (121) went out all guns blazing in a 259-run partnership.
“The partnership was awesome. Once we got the pace of the wicket in five-six overs we targeted the next set of guys,” said Warner, who was named player of the match.
“It helps when you hit the ball in the middle, you need to take your chances in a ground like this.
“The groin is a little sore but it’s all cramps… Part of my DNA is to run hard between wickets.”
In response, Pakistan’s Abdullah Shafique (64) and Imam-ul-Haq (70) laid a good platform with a 134-run opening partnership but the rest of the top order failed to build on promising starts as they were bundled out for 305.
Warner and Marsh put on a masterclass of power-hitting, taking advantage of the flat wicket and short boundaries at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium to smash 24 fours and 18 sixes between them.
Warner survived an lbw review on the first ball of the innings off Shaheen Afridi and the opener was reprieved when Usama Mir dropped a routine catch at mid-on when he was on 10 and Shafique spilled another chance on 105.
“We were not up to the mark. If you drop Warner, he will not spare you. We didn’t bowl well in a big-scoring ground,” Azam said.
The opening pair scored 82 in the first powerplay and notched up their centuries in the 31st over from successive deliveries.
But Marsh, celebrating his 32nd birthday, fell to Afridi as Mir made amends with a catch at short fine leg and batter walked off having made a career-best knock.
Haris Rauf, who conceded 24 runs in his first over, got Warner caught in the deep when the opener looked to clear the long-on boundary.
The Australian received a standing ovation from the crowd and handshakes from the Pakistan players as he walked off with his seventh 150-plus score in ODIs.
“That was proper (batting) from those two, it set the tone for how we want to play our cricket, take the game on,” skipper Pat Cummins said.
But Australia collapsed after Warner’s dismissal, with the last six wickets falling for 38 runs as Afridi finished with figures of 5-54 when he cleaned up the tail.
Pakistan come undone
Pakistan’s Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq built a partnership with confident strokes and rotation of strike but sixes were in short supply.
Shafique was dropped on 27 by Sean Abbott, with the ball falling outside the rope to give Pakistan a reprieve and Imam was dropped on 48 by Cummins.
Marcus Stoinis struck with his first ball when Shafique edged a short ball to Glenn Maxwell to depart for 64 before Imam (70) fell in his next over, caught at third man.
Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed made good starts but Cummins took a sharp diving catch to dismiss the opposition skipper. Adam Zampa (4-53) struck again to remove Iftikhar, who had struck three sixes in five balls.
With the required run rate climbing, Pakistan went for their shots and Zampa picked up two more when Mohammad Rizwan (46) was trapped lbw and Mohammad Nawaz was stumped off the spinner’s final delivery.
Australia: Mitchell Marsh, David Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuchagne, Josh Inglis (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Marus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (capt), Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Usama Mir, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf