Australia pulled off a sensational six-run victory over inexperienced Pakistan in the fourth one-day international on Friday as centuries by debutant Abid Ali and Mohammad Rizwan went in vain.
Ali hit 112 off 119 balls and Rizwan smashed 104 off 102 deliveries before Australia came back to restrict Pakistan to 271-8 and pick up its fourth straight win in the five-match series.
Ali and Rizwan shared a third-wicket stand of 144 but once leg spinner Adam Zampa broke it, Australian seamers Nathan Coulter-Nile (3-53) and Marcus Stoinis (2-20) held back Pakistan’s chase.
Earlier, Glenn Maxwell got two chances before getting run out on 98, lifting Australia to 277-7 after Pakistan stand-in captain Imad Wasim won the toss and elected to field.
Usman Khawaja scored a gritty 62 to become the leading ODI scorer in 2019, and Alex Carey hit his maiden one-day half century before falling off the last delivery for 55.
“I thought our composure with the ball was really good,” Australian captain Aaron Finch said.
“We knew how slow the wicket was, we knew if we could get some new batters in, it would be tough. Credit to our boys, though Abid and Rizwan getting hundreds were great knocks.”
Australia looked on the back foot for the first time in the series when Ali and Rizwan put up Pakistan’s best ever third-wicket stand against Australia.
Ali, 31, had been long waiting to get his chance in international cricket after scoring heavily in the domestic game the past two seasons.
He was included on Friday at the last minute after Imam-ul-Haq couldn’t recover from flu.
Ali hit nine fours in his hundred, which could earn him a spot in World Cup squad after he joined Salim Elahi and Imam in scoring centuries on their ODI debuts for Pakistan.
But Zampa struck finally when Ali holed out at long on and that ignited Pakistan’s middle-order collapse.
Umar Akmal (7), Saad Ali (7) and Wasim (1) all fell while going for extravagant shots against seamers.
Rizwan, who hit nine fours and a six, raised his second hundred of the series in the penultimate over before falling to Stoinis, leaving Pakistan needing 17 off the final six balls.
“They bowled beautifully,” said Wasim, who led Pakistan after captain Shoaib Malik was ruled out due to bruised ribs before the match.
“We were lacking the power hitting … some of the shots were not on in that situation. But if you’re not learning after playing so much cricket, you can’t do anything.”
Maxwell and Carey propelled Australia with their 134-run sixth wicket stand after spinners Wasim (2-56) and Yasir Shah (2-57) had reduced the visitors to 140-5 in the 29th over.
Maxwell was dropped by wicketkeeper Rizwan on 10 and then was called back on 76 after Usman Shinwari had him clean bowled off a no-ball.
Both batsmen went in the last over with Maxwell falling short and Carey being caught in the deep.