Abu Dhabi: With back-to-back series victories against India and Pakistan, the Australians have peaked in time for the ICC World Cup which is just around the corner.
Skipper Aaron Finch was 10 runs short of becoming the first Australian to score centuries in three consecutive ODIs. His scores of 116, 153 not out and 90 in the first three games speaks volumes of his new-found form.
Glen Maxwell gave enough evidence that he hasn’t lost on his finishing touches in his knock of 71 from just 55 deliveries.
Once David Warner and Steven Smith are drafted back in the squad, that battling line up will look as intimidating as it can get.
Pat Cummins also came in all cylinders blazing to knockout Pakistan’s top three in just 11 deliveries, displaying the depth they have in their bowling department.
Finch will be clearly spoilt for choice as to whom he should toss the new ball once Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood return. “We are very much looking forward to the remaining two games. To come over here and to perform the way we have in the first three games is really exciting for this group. The thought of winning the series with a clean sweep will be massive for this group,” Maxwell said about the remaining two fixtures. The fourth of the ODIs is scheduled in Dubai on Friday.
“Yes, the result of this series and the way our team has been playing cricket has been impressive. We have adapted to different conditions and different pitches. We worked out well how the game is going and adapted accordingly.
“Especially our top order in the first two games, to win by eight wickets. Today on a slightly different wicket to put a total that is hard to chase. Cummins to come out and do what he does at top, we are happy,” said Maxwell, who brushed aside that they are up against a depleted Pakistan side.
“Pakistan are a very good side. The outfits that they keep putting has a lot of quality throughout. I think the way they come out of the gates and challenge … like Harris Sohail and (Mohammad) Rizwan scoring 100. The way Imad (Wasim) was involved today was outstanding. I think we have been able to suck the life out of the match-winners on their side and managed to take them down a little bit and that has been the key to the results.” Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood, meanwhile, expressed his disappointment in losing the series but felt there were plenty of positives.
“You must give credit to the Australian team. The way Finch is batting is phenomenal and Maxwell played really well. I felt (Usman) Shinwari bowled really well and so did Junaid Khan and the young (Mohammad) Hasnain was also good,” said Mahmood.
Defending the team think-tank’s decision to rest six regulars for this series, the former Pakistan all-rounder said: “We have played continuously in the last six months and we had only this opportunity to give them rest. We are playing cricket non-stop for six months so it was to give them rest. I think we have two spots in bowling department that needs to be filled. Shinwari, Mohammad Abbas and Mohammad Amir, Junaid Hasnain is there and it is up to them to show their talent and book their place in the team.”