Australia defeat Pakistan in the final ODI to claim series
Abu Dhabi: Australia defeated Pakistan by three wickets in the third and final ODI clinch the series 2-1 on Monday.
Glenn Maxwell smashed an unbeaten 56 (38b) and veteran batsman Michael Hussey hit 65 to help their side eclipse Pakistan’s total of 244 with three overs to spare.
The match at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, consigned Pakistan to a third straight ODI series defeat this year after earlier losses to England and Sri Lanka. It was also Australia`s third successive series win over Pakistan and will help Michael Clarke`s team as it works its way back up the rankings after losing its No. 1 spot with a lopsided defeat to England earlier in the year.
"It`s very special after our defeat in England," Clarke said. "The feeling around the group is a great feeling especially after losing 4-0 to England.
"The guys should be really proud of this series. It was a tough victory against a very good one-day team."
After Mitchell Starc claimed 4-51 and Mitchell Johnson took 2-33 to help restrict Pakistan to 244-7, Australia made an encouraging start when opener David Warner (21) and David Hussey combined for 44 runs.
Clarke scored 32 before being stumped by Kamran Akmal off Saeed Ajmal (3-37) and David Hussey was caught by Abdur Rehman off Ajmal for 43, leaving Australia at 108-4 nearly halfway through its innings.
Mike Hussey, whose late-innings heroics helped Australia beat Pakistan in the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup semifinals, got the chase back on track as he paired with Matthew Wade (22) and Maxwell for half-century partnerships.
"It is a great challenge playing these guys. They have some great bowlers and know these conditions very well," Hussey said. "It was pretty tough during the middle ... They had a lot of momentum and I found it very difficult to start."
Maxwell proved to be the difference after Hussey was bowled by Junaid Khan (2-42), hitting many of his boundaries in the last two overs to clinch the victory for Australia.
Ajmal and Rehman (2-41) had no answer to Maxwell and couldn`t make a breakthrough when it counted at the end.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said the series defeat shows his team has plenty of shortcomings, especially its recent history of batting collapses during the power play.
"We have to improve in every department of the game, especially we have to find the right combination of fast bowling and we have to improve our batting and fielding," Misbah said. "At important stages of the game we collapse in batting and miss chances in fielding. These are the real areas where we have to work hard."
Australia elected to bowl after winning the toss, hoping to avoid moist conditions later in the night that contributed to its seven-wicket loss.
Mohammed Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed responded by posting an opening century partnership, giving the thousands of Pakistan fans in the crowd some hope of an ODI series win over Australia for the first time since 2002.
Hafeez smashed 78 and Jamshed reached 48 in the 129-run stand - Pakistan`s second highest for the first wicket against Australia. Hafeez struck four boundaries and two sixes, while Jamshed cracked six boundaries.
Misbah and Azhar Ali shared a 35-run partnership, but Australia`s bowlers combined to keep Pakistan`s total within reach.
Starc, who took five wickets in Australia`s opening win in the series, collected two wickets in the 38th over to slow the Pakistan scoring. He was assisted by Johnson, who broke up the opening partnership.
Australia won the first match by four wickets but Pakistan forced the series to the deciding third match with its win in game two.