Australia pulls off 6-run win over Pakistan

Australia team players celebrate the dismissal of during the first one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and Australia in Sharjah on March 22, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 30 March 2019

Australia pulls off 6-run win over Pakistan

  • Usman Khawaja scored a gritty 62 to become the leading ODI scorer in 2019
  • Ali and Rizwan shared a third-wicket stand of 144 putting Australian on the backfoot

DUBAI: Australia pulled off a sensational six-run victory over inexperienced Pakistan in the fourth one-day international on Friday as centuries by debutant Abid Ali and Mohammad Rizwan went in vain.
Ali hit 112 off 119 balls and Rizwan smashed 104 off 102 deliveries before Australia came back to restrict Pakistan to 271-8 and pick up its fourth straight win in the five-match series.
Ali and Rizwan shared a third-wicket stand of 144 but once leg spinner Adam Zampa broke it, Australian seamers Nathan Coulter-Nile (3-53) and Marcus Stoinis (2-20) held back Pakistan's chase.
Earlier, Glenn Maxwell got two chances before getting run out on 98, lifting Australia to 277-7 after Pakistan stand-in captain Imad Wasim won the toss and elected to field.
Usman Khawaja scored a gritty 62 to become the leading ODI scorer in 2019, and Alex Carey hit his maiden one-day half century before falling off the last delivery for 55.
"I thought our composure with the ball was really good," Australian captain Aaron Finch said.
"We knew how slow the wicket was, we knew if we could get some new batters in, it would be tough. Credit to our boys, though Abid and Rizwan getting hundreds were great knocks."
Australia looked on the back foot for the first time in the series when Ali and Rizwan put up Pakistan's best ever third-wicket stand against Australia.
Ali, 31, had been long waiting to get his chance in international cricket after scoring heavily in the domestic game the past two seasons.
He was included on Friday at the last minute after Imam-ul-Haq couldn't recover from flu.
Ali hit nine fours in his hundred, which could earn him a spot in World Cup squad after he joined Salim Elahi and Imam in scoring centuries on their ODI debuts for Pakistan.
But Zampa struck finally when Ali holed out at long on and that ignited Pakistan's middle-order collapse.
Umar Akmal (7), Saad Ali (7) and Wasim (1) all fell while going for extravagant shots against seamers.
Rizwan, who hit nine fours and a six, raised his second hundred of the series in the penultimate over before falling to Stoinis, leaving Pakistan needing 17 off the final six balls.
"They bowled beautifully," said Wasim, who led Pakistan after captain Shoaib Malik was ruled out due to bruised ribs before the match.
"We were lacking the power hitting ... some of the shots were not on in that situation. But if you're not learning after playing so much cricket, you can't do anything."
Maxwell and Carey propelled Australia with their 134-run sixth wicket stand after spinners Wasim (2-56) and Yasir Shah (2-57) had reduced the visitors to 140-5 in the 29th over.
Maxwell was dropped by wicketkeeper Rizwan on 10 and then was called back on 76 after Usman Shinwari had him clean bowled off a no-ball.
Both batsmen went in the last over with Maxwell falling short and Carey being caught in the deep.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal into Monte Carlo last eight

Updated 18 April 2019

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal into Monte Carlo last eight

  • Medvedev eliminates 6th seed Tsitsipas in three sets

MONTE CARLO: Top seed Novak Djokovic and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal showed no mercy in dominating wins to power into the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals on Thursday.

Djokovic extended his winning streak against US players with a 6-3, 6-0 defeat of Taylor Fritz.

The two-time tournament champion has now won nine in a row over Americans since losing at Wimbledon in 2016 to Sam Querrey.

“It was very challenging to play in these (windy) conditions,” Djokovic said. “Taylor just flattens the ball.

“We had five, six close games in the first set, I just managed to break his resistance midway through.

“After that, things went on my side and I felt more comfortable.

“This was one of these days where you just have to hang in there and try to put an extra ball back in the court — that was enough.”

Nadal repeated last year’s semifinal win over Grigor Dimitrov, beating the Bulgarian for the 12th time, 6-4, 6-1.

“I’m very, very happy, this is an important victory for me,” the second seed said after winning his 23rd consecutive set at the tournament.

“Grigor is a super talent and is very dangerous. It was a positive match for me.

“I had a good day, I can be happy with what I did on court.

“When you don’t play on clay for almost a year, every win is important for the confidence, especially as I’m coming back from injury.”

Spain’s 17-time Grand Slam champion started his clay season this week after missing a month with another knee problem and has title-holder points to defend here plus Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros.

The king of clay is bidding for a 12th trophy in the principality. His record at the event is a staggering 70-4.

Nadal spent almost an hour in securing the first set but picked up the pace in the second as he ran out the winner.

He next faces Guido Pella, who defeated Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

World No. 1 Djokovic will be playing his ninth quarterfinal here from 13 appearances at his home event.

Djokovic turned in a steady performance with a dozen winners and unforced errors, while his opponent committed nearly 30 unforced errors in 68 minutes.

Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier lost 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 as Daniil Medvedev continued his run of form.

The Russian will next line up against Djokovic after losing to him in January in the Australian Open fourth round.

Tsitsipas was caught on the back foot facing three match points as he trailed 0-40 on his serve late in the second set. After saving the first two, the Greek botched the third to seal his exit after an hour and three-quarters.

Medvedev increased his leading total of ATP season match wins to 20 as a result after he beat Tsitsipas for the fourth time in as many attempts.

“This was a great achievement for me,” Medvedev said. “Everything was perfect today.

“Some wind came up in the second set and I could not get used to it. But in the third, I just worked to put every ball in the court.

“I was pleased to fight back after going a break down in the third set.”

The player who stands a career-high 14th credits his rising form to a renewed dedication to the sport.

“I’ve been working hard for the past 18 months —  since before the start of 2018. I’ve dedicated my life to tennis, which I did not do before,” Medvedev said.

“I had my best season last year — hopefully this year will be better.”

The Russian reached his first quarterfinal at the Masters 1000 level after winning his second match against a Top 10 opponent.

Tsitsipas, runner-up last season to Nadal in Toronto, suffered his eighth defeat of the season against 18 wins and will try and lift his game next week on the clay of Barcelona. 

Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego defeated Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-2, 7-5.