Pakistan are steady at 147/5 in chase of a 308-run target set by Australia in the 17th match of the World Cup at Taunton on Wednesday.
Imamul Haq (39) and Mohammad Hafeez (34) have settled into a comfortable rhythm at the pitch. The 5.5 run rate is still trailing behind the required rate of 6.6.
Opener Fakhar Zaman was the first casualty this innings. He dispatched the ball straight into Kane Richardson’s hands at third man and returned to the pavilion without scoring any runs in the second over.
Babar Azam had struck up a partnership with Imam that saw the green shirts’ run rate inching towards ─ but still falling short of ─ the 6.39 required at the time. But he was sent packing in the 11th over when he sent a short delivery by Nathan Coulter-Nile straight to Richardson at fine leg.
With Azam’s dismissal, Coulter-Nile reaches a milestone of 50 ODI wickets.
Pakistan are wearing black armbands as a mark of respect for former international cricketer Akhtar Sarfaraz and umpire Riazuddin, both of whom passed away recently.
Australia looked set for a huge total in Taunton while David Warner and captain Aaron Finch (82) were sharing a first-wicket stand of 146 ─ the highest partnership for any wicket at this World Cup to date.
But left-arm quick Amir dragged Pakistan back into the game, returning figures that surpassed his previous best of 4-28 and are the best in the tournament so far. “I think I left a few (runs) out there,” admitted Warner during the break between innings. “The second spell from Mohammad Amir was fantastic. “We have got to come out and bowl Test match line and length and be very disciplined.” Both Warner and Steve Smith, also returning from a year-long ban for ball-tampering, had been jeered by fans in previous games but Pakistan fans largely heeded an appeal from captain Sarfaraz Ahmed not to boo the pair, preferring to roar chants of “Amir!, Amir!”. Amir was on target right from the start after Sarfaraz won the toss on an overcast morning at southwest county Somerset’s headquarters. He started with a probing maiden — one of two in an initial four-over spell that cost a mere 11 runs. Finch should have been out for 26 when he edged Wahab Riaz, only for first slip Asif Ali to floor a head-high catch He was dropped again on 44 when wicketkeeper Sarfaraz could not hold a tough chance following an edged cut off Mohammad Hafeez’s second ball.
David Warner finally cut loose for Australia, posting his first international century since returning from a 12-month ban before Pakistan rallied to dismiss the defending World Cup champions for 307 in overcast conditions.
Left-arm quick Mohammad Amir’s outstanding attack saw him pick up a career-best five-wicket haul in the One Day International format.
According to cricket statistician Mazher Arshad, Amir’s 5-30 are the best bowling figures for Pakistan in a World Cup match against a Test playing team.