Australia whitewash Pakistan 5-0 despite Haris hundred

Pakistani cricketers Haris Sohail leaves the field after being dismissed by Australian cricketer Kane Richardson during the fifth one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and Australia at Dubai International Stadium in Dubai on March 31, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 01 April 2019
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Australia whitewash Pakistan 5-0 despite Haris hundred

  • The series win gives Australia an eighth straight one-day victory
  • Pakistan hopes to recover before the World Cup

DUBAI: World champions Australia completed a 5-0 whitewash over Pakistan with a clinical 20-run win in the fifth and final one-day international despite a brilliant hundred from Haris Sohail in Dubai on Sunday.
Sohail scored a 129-ball 130 for his second one-day international hundred but failed to take Pakistan past Australia’s imposing 327-7, finishing at 307-7 in 50 overs.
Australia’s total was built around Usman Khawaja’s 98 and a fiery 33-ball 70 by Glenn Maxwell coupled with Shaun Marsh’s 61 and skipper Aaron Finch’s 53 in a dominating batting show.
The series win gives Australia an eighth straight one-day victory following their 3-2 series win in India after losing the first two matches.
It gives them a sixth successive series win over Pakistan since losing in 2002 (in Australia) and fourth whitewash over their opponents — 1998 (3-0 in Pakistan), 2010 (5-0 in Australia) and in 2014 (3-0 in United Arab Emirates).
Australia’s resurgence — after winning just three of their 18 matches between January 2018 to the first two matches in India earlier this month — could not have been more perfectly timed as they defend their World Cup title in England in two months.
Sohail, who hit 11 boundaries and three sixes, had set up the chase during a second wicket stand of 108 with Shan Masood (50 off 54 balls) and another 102 with Umar Akmal (44-ball 43) before Australia hit back with two wickets in the space of one run.
Umar holed out to off-spinner Nathan Lyon and a run later Sohail’s innings was ended by Kane Richardson.
Stand-in skipper Imad Wasim, deputising for injured Shoaib Malik (captain for the series), hit 50 not out with six boundaries and a six but it proved in vain.
Pakistan had lost Abid Ali — who made a debut hundred in the last game — for nought in the first over.
Skipper Finch, declared man of the series for his two hundreds and two fifties, showed happiness at return of his and team’s form.
“The way everyone contributed throughout the series was fantastic,” said Finch.
“The difference in 15, 20 runs tonight was the fielding. Everyone has played a really good role.
“So the selectors have a hard job to select that World Cup squad. My own process didn’t change a lot, I’ve just changed a couple of things technically over the last couple of weeks.”
Finch was happy at beating India and Pakistan on the Asian tour.
“The next couple of weeks will be important for guys to refocus and recharge their batteries. We’ll go to the World Cup with a lot of confidence now, even after a lot of people wrote us off.”
Wasim said he hopes Pakistan will recover before the World Cup.
“We have to keep our chins up as we have a series coming up against England and the World Cup. We’ll sit down and see what we have to do,” said Wasim.
Khawaja and Maxwell made merry against Pakistan’s bowling attack.
It was Maxwell’s ten fours and three sixes that helped Australia to 107 runs in the last ten overs. He was finally bowled by paceman Junaid Khan who finished with three wickets for 63.
Khawaja, who hit ten boundaries in his 111-ball innings, set the platform with a solid 134-run opening stand with Finch for the pair’s second hundred run stand in the series.
Finch was finally bowled by pacer Usman Shinwari, finishing with 451 runs in the series, only 27 short of George Bailey’s record in a bilateral series he made against India in 2013.
Khawaja, who made his first two ODI career hundreds in India earlier this month, was all set for his third but fell to a miscued drive off Shinwari, who finished with 4-49.
Khawaja added 80 for the second wicket with Marsh who hit five fours and a six in his 68-ball knock.
Australia won the first two matches in Sharjah by identical margins of eight wickets before winning the third in Abu Dhabi by 80 runs and fourth in Dubai by six runs.


Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal into Monte Carlo last eight

Updated 18 April 2019
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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.