Taunton: Opener David Warner, who Wednesday scored his first century since completing the ball-tampering ban, said the knock in the World Cup game against Pakistan ‘means a lot’ to him as a batsman.
David Warner was not his usual destructive self but effective nevertheless, his century setting up Australia’s 41-run win over Pakistan in the World Cup here Wednesday.
Seeking to silence his doubters, Warner made 107 off 111 balls, a few days after his uncharacteristic half-century against India surprised the cricket fraternity. Conditions were testing and up against a quality attack, Warner had to be cautious after Pakistan put Australia in. “There was a bit of movement early on, so I had to be a lot tighter. This century means a lot as a batsman. Some great efforts from Pakistan. Our bowlers were fantastic but it was a great game,” the opener said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Against Afghanistan, I felt like I had no rhythm; the next game (versus the West Indies), I got one that kicked off the wicket but I was a bit lazy. In the last game (against India), I didn’t play the way I know I can play. So it was a bit of relief in a way (to get the hundred). Against India, I hit a lot of fielders and you feel like you’ve got no rhythm. This match was one of those wickets when you’re still looking to score while keeping it tight – we had to try to adapt to those conditions.”
However, the perfectionist in Warner was annoyed that he got out so soon after reaching his 15th ODI ton. “I still feel I left a lot out there, with 70 balls to go. And with the way we were trying to build partnerships again, I hold myself responsible for the way we fell apart there.”
Australia looked set for a total in excess of 350 while Warner and captain Aaron Finch (82) were at the crease, but Mohammad Amir (5/30) staged a grand comeback with his best ODI bowling figures to bowl their opponents out for 307.
“When I got out, we had 70 balls to go. As a batter, you want to bat 50 overs. We should’ve been around 340-350, credit to Pakistan’s bowlers. Their second spells were outstanding and they made it hard for us. It was a used wicket; it was a tad dry and they bowled very straight lines to me and gave me no width,” Man of the Match Warner added.
Reeling at 160 for six in the 30th over, the duo of Sarfaraz Ahmed and Wahab Riaz gave the Australians a scare with a rearguard action that revived their hopes for a while. Finch admitted.
“Certainly did put us under pressure. Guys like Hassan and Wahab are good strikers of the ball. Hard to stop when they’re on a roll. Just had to bowl our best ball, whether it’s a length ball or yorker. When you’re slightly off, on a small ground like this, you’re punished. Didn’t bat out our fifty overs which was disappointing. When you go with an extra batter, you back the batsmen to do the job,” Finch said.
Riaz smashed 45 off 39 balls with two fours and three sixes, while Sarfaraz made 40 off 48. The side’s top-scorer though was opener Imam-ul-Haq (53), Mohammad Hafeez contributed 46 while Hasan Ali blazed away to 32 off only 15 balls before Mitchell Starc closed out the game at the death. Pakistan’s innings ended at 266 in 45.4 overs.
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was disappointed after his side’s second defeat of the tournament. “Definitely very disappointing. Lost three wickets in 15 balls from 140/3. To take positives, Hassan Ali batted well, Wahab batted well. Fought in the end but could not finish it off well. Except Amir, others did not bowl well,” Sarfaraz said.