Australia's Aaron Finch
Australia's Aaron Finch celebrates his century during the first one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and Australia at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah on March 22, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

Sharjah: Australia skipper Aaron Finch inspired his team to a victory in the first One Day International of the five-match series at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, transforming a daunting task of shooting Pakistan’s total of 280 for five into an easy one through his brilliant knock of 116 runs.

Looking back at the chase that helped his team record an eight-wicket win, Finch said: “It was just nice to do it two down and do it a bit more clinically than what we have over the last few months, when we’ve been in that situation.”

Australia and Pakistan face off in their second One-day match at the same venue on Sunday with the question whether Australia will be able to double their lead or Pakistan can come back to level the series.

Finch feels that the win will have a positive effect. “To chase down that total, was pretty daunting but it played really well in the second half. Nice to hit a few (runs) in the middle. I think doing it two-down was a real positive for us. There has been a few times recently where it might have got to 6 or 7 down,” he added.

Finch then went on to praise his teammate Shaun Marsh, who cracked an unbeaten 93 runs and helped him put 172 runs for the second wicket. “The way Shaun played was a huge bonus to take the pressure off me. They’re sometimes the best innings you’ll play as a batsman, when things aren’t going your way. It wasn’t an innings where he (Marsh) hit the middle of the bat and it was free flowing from the start. For him to grind out the first 30 or 40 runs to find his rhythm was really important.”

Finch feels that his partnership with Marsh was really special. “If you have a partnership where you both struggle a little bit at the same time, it can really bog down the innings. He (Marsh) took the pressure off me when I struggled and vice versa, I managed to get a couple away when he was going through a bit of a flat spot. I think it was a nice partnership.”

Did Finch feel a bit jittery when he reached the 90s and slowed down as he was keen to get a century that had eluded him? “What was running through my mind was that I had faced a lot of dot balls in the 90s and it wasn’t because I was trying to just get to a 100,” Finch said.

“It was purely that they bowled quite well. On these kind of wickets, your innings seem to ebb and flow quite a bit. There’ll be times when you’ll face 10 or 12 balls, hit a few boundaries and get away to a flyer then there might be 30 balls when you make 12 or 15 runs because you’re struggling.”