Infotainment Factory: Finch fires as Australia records big win

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Friday, 22 March 2019

Finch fires as Australia records big win


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Aaron Finch has produced a match-winning century in an eight-wicket victory over Pakistan to silence any doubters still wondering whether he is the man to captain Australia's World Cup defence.

Finch (116) and Shaun Marsh (91 not out) did the heavy lifting as Australia hauled in a target of 281 in Sharjah, taking a 1-0 lead in the five-match series with one over to spare.

Finch brought up his first ODI ton in nine months with a towering six off fellow skipper Shoaib Malik, celebrating with a hearty hug of Marsh and a kiss of the helmet badge.

The Victorian raged at himself when he went down swinging at Mohammad Abbas in the 43rd over, no doubt keen to finish the job, but Marsh and Peter Handscomb ensured there was no late twist.

Finch was already locked in to lead Australia at the World Cup, having impressed Justin Langer immensely after taking on the responsibility following Steve Smith and David Warner's unprecedented shame and sanctions.

But Friday's innings was verification the opener's recent breakthrough knock of 93 in India was no outlier, as some had suggested.

Recalled veteran Marsh, who was dropped for last week's series decider against India in Delhi, made a mockery of anybody who believed his World Cup hopes are over.

The 172-run stand between Finch and Marsh, who started tentatively but soon exhibited impeccable timing, was ultimately the difference.

Haris Sohail's maiden ODI century lifted his team to a total of 5-280 but Pakistan couldn't form the sort of partnership they craved.

Nathan Coulter-Nile dismissed debutant Shan Masood and Umar Akmal, for 40 and 49 respectively, to end stands with Sohail that were threatening to get out of hand for Australia.

The triumph, coming without the help of rested spearhead Pat Cummins, extended Australia's winning streak to four games.

Batting was Australia's Achilles heel in a stretch of four wins from 26 consecutive ODIs but, as was the case during a record chase of 359 earlier this month in India, it delivered victory in Sharjah.

Aaron Finch

Finch and Marsh controlled the chase, on the sort of slow pitch that Australia have come unstuck on while trying to be overly aggressive during recent years, with aplomb.

Finch was patient for most of the night, putting away bad balls but otherwise content to work the field and keep the scoreboard ticking over through assertive running between the wickets.

There was also some trademark clean hitting from the Victorian, who bludgeoned four sixes.

Finch offered one chance before reaching three figures - although unfair to call it that - on 83, when he smashed the ball straight back at veteran spinner Yasir Shah's chest.

A shaken Shah was rightly relieved to avoid injury, such was the force of the blow.

Aaron Finch has produced a match-winning century in an eight-wicket victory over Pakistan to silence any doubters still wondering whether he is the man to captain Australia's World Cup defence.

Finch (116) and Shaun Marsh (91 not out) did the heavy lifting as Australia hauled in a target of 281 in Sharjah, taking a 1-0 lead in the five-match series with one over to spare.

Finch brought up his first ODI ton in nine months with a towering six off fellow skipper Shoaib Malik, celebrating with a hearty hug of Marsh and a kiss of the helmet badge.

The Victorian raged at himself when he went down swinging at Mohammad Abbas in the 43rd over, no doubt keen to finish the job, but Marsh and Peter Handscomb ensured there was no late twist.

Finch was already locked in to lead Australia at the World Cup, having impressed Justin Langer immensely after taking on the responsibility following Steve Smith and David Warner's unprecedented shame and sanctions.

But Friday's innings was verification the opener's recent breakthrough knock of 93 in India was no outlier, as some had suggested.

Recalled veteran Marsh, who was dropped for last week's series decider against India in Delhi, made a mockery of anybody who believed his World Cup hopes are over.

The 172-run stand between Finch and Marsh, who started tentatively but soon exhibited impeccable timing, was ultimately the difference.

Haris Sohail's maiden ODI century lifted his team to a total of 5-280 but Pakistan couldn't form the sort of partnership they craved.

Nathan Coulter-Nile dismissed debutant Shan Masood and Umar Akmal, for 40 and 49 respectively, to end stands with Sohail that were threatening to get out of hand for Australia.

The triumph, coming without the help of rested spearhead Pat Cummins, extended Australia's winning streak to four games.

Batting was Australia's Achilles heel in a stretch of four wins from 26 consecutive ODIs but, as was the case during a record chase of 359 earlier this month in India, it delivered victory in Sharjah.

Aaron Finch

Finch and Marsh controlled the chase, on the sort of slow pitch that Australia have come unstuck on while trying to be overly aggressive during recent years, with aplomb.

Finch was patient for most of the night, putting away bad balls but otherwise content to work the field and keep the scoreboard ticking over through assertive running between the wickets.

There was also some trademark clean hitting from the Victorian, who bludgeoned four sixes.

Finch offered one chance before reaching three figures - although unfair to call it that - on 83, when he smashed the ball straight back at veteran spinner Yasir Shah's chest.

A shaken Shah was rightly relieved to avoid injury, such was the force of the blow.

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