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Pakistan seek Wahab’s World Cup inspiration in final ODI

ADELAIDE: Pakistan captain Azhar Ali calls on his team to channel Wahab Riaz’s World Cup spell to Shane Watson when the teams meet in the fifth and final One-day International at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

It’s nearly two years ago since Australia hosted a One day International at the Adelaide Oval, and the 2015 World Cup quarter final is remembered for a single spell of fast bowling above all else.

The match came during Australia’s ultimately successful World Cup tilt in March 2015, and resulted in a comfortable win to the home team.

But not before Pakistan’s left-arm firebrand Wahab brought the rollicking crowd to their feet and Australia all-rounder Shane Watson into a fierce individual battle with an exhilarating spell of fast bowling.
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A burst that Watson later described as ‘nasty’ and which then Australian captain Michael Clarke rated as one of the best spells of fast bowling that he had faced in the one-day arena “in quite some time”.

The same teams return to Adelaide on Thursday, although Watson has since retired from international cricket and the likelihood of Wahab playing is unclear given he has missed the past three games of this one-day series.

However, Azhar on Wednesday called on his team-mates to channel the spirit of Wahab and his emblematic World Cup effort as they look to salvage a consolation win from a series already decided in the hosts’ favour.

“That spell was brilliant that day, so hopefully whoever gets the opportunity can try and do the same,” Azhar said of that fast, hostile burst that earned Wahab the wickets of David Warner and Clarke in quick succession and saw Watson thoroughly worked over.

“It’s really important tomorrow that everybody turns up with that intensity and trying to win the game for Pakistan.

“You have to come every game and every individual find the best out of himself and get his match-winning performance.

“The series is definitely decided but every game is important, and for us to finish the tour well is very important.”

The potential for pace to play a significant role on the usually benign Adelaide pitch was highlighted by both teams as they arrived at the venue for training on Wednesday.

Azhar noted there was a hint of green grass on the strip, although he doubted it would be sufficient to load the game in favour of bowlers.

Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, again the only member of his team to exercise the option to train prior to the Australia Day clash, indicated his hope that it would yield some pace and bounce to keep batters on their toes and the crowd entertained.

‘It’s what hopefully everyone comes to see,” said Maxwell, who helped guide Australia to victory in that World Cup fixture with an unbeaten 44 and a 68-run partnership with Watson (who finished 64 not out). “A fired-up Pakistan team with a bit of pace, and I’m hoping to see some pace from this Adelaide wicket.

“I’m a pretty poor judge of a wicket but hopefully there’s some pace and bounce.”

While pace bowling was signalled as Pakistan’s strength heading into what has been a disappointing Test and ODI tour for them — with a solitary win from seven international starts to date — it has been their fielding that has sorely let them down.

Most embarrassingly in Sydney last Sunday, where a litany of dropped catches and glaring misfields led coach Mickey Arthur to assess the effort as ‘woeful’ and ‘unacceptable’.

Azhar, who remains under scrutiny in his role as ODI captain having won just 12 matches from his 30 in charge, claimed his team had worked hard on their fielding during the current tour of Australia.

But he conceded that last Sunday’s effort at the SCG, where Australia wrapped up the five-match series by taking an unassailable 3-1 lead, was a low point and one that suggested more work was needed when the weary team finally returns home next week.

“We have been doing a lot of practice, so we can’t fault that,” Azhar said. “Obviously the performance we did in the field [in Sydney] was nowhere near good enough You can say it’s one of the days you want to forget and start fresh again and try and get every opportunity you can.

“Doing more and more practice … in an off series when you’re not touring you can work more and more, but I think with the amount of work we’ve done during this series with the fielding, it’s been exceptional.

“On that day we were just very poor. So we just want to get our concentration right, our focus right and try and get it better.”

Teams (from):

AUSTRALIA: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (captain), Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis.

PAKISTAN: Sharjeel Khan, Azhar Ali (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Asad Shafiq.

Umpires: Simon Fry (Australia) and Chettithody Shamshuddin (India).

TV umpire: Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand).

Match referee: Jeff Crowe (New Zealand).

courtesy : dawn news

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