Maxwell thunders warning in Aussie win
A Glenn Maxwell masterclass has thundered Australia to a record seven match winning streak after the Aussies came from nowhere to defeat Pakistan by six runs in Dubai on Saturday morning (AEDT).
Despite hundreds from Abid Ali and Mohammad Rizwan, Australia's bowlers became the match-winners for the first time on this tour as Pakistan choked up in the middle of their run chase to give Australia a 4-0 series advantage heading into the series finale on Monday morning.
Maxwell (98), Usman Khawaja (62) and Alex Carey (55) guided Australia to 277-7 in their 50 overs after they were sent into bat.
Pakistan finished on 271-8 in their 50 overs with Ali scoring 112 on ODI debut and Rizwan 104.
Aaron Finch's team defended 7-277 in the dramatic run chase to extend their winning streak to seven games, thanks to Maxwell's man of the match performance.
Ali (112) and Rizwan (104) shared a 144-run stand, guiding their team to a point where they needed 66 from the final 10 overs in Dubai.
The hosts were perfectly placed to complete Pakistan's highest successful ODI chase against Australia but it all went pear shaped.
Adam Zampa's dismissal of Ali in the 42nd over gave the visitors hope and they proceeded to shift momentum as Nathan Coulter-Nile snagged two wickets. The equation was 17 runs off the final over when Marcus Stoinis was handed the pill.
Stoinis started with a single and a wide but then captured the all-important scalp of Rizwan, who picked out Peter Handscomb in the deep.
Usman Shinwari slapped his first ball for six then gave Handscomb more catching practice, ensuring Pakistan's tail could not conjure any miracles.
Australia showcased another facet of their resurgence as a World Cup threat by fighting until the final ball and winning ugly on a day when plenty of things went wrong.
Captain Finch said after the game it was great to see his side win differently to previous matches where the batting unit blasted Pakistan off the deck.
"Nice to do it the opposite this time around," Finch said.
"Our spinners bowled beautifully in the middle overs and then our quicks were very disciplined at the end."
Maxwell fell just two runs short of a century while lifting Australia to a defendable total.
He was run out trying to get back on strike in the final over, but still registered his highest ODI score since the 2015 World Cup.
His fifth dismissal in the nervous nineties ties him with Ricky Ponting as the Aussie with the second-most career dismissals in the nineties.
He backed up his 71 in Abu Dhabi with a knock of 98 in Dubai, showing he can mix sublime and sensible in an innings that spanned 82 deliveries and changed the course of the game.
Maxwell marched to the middle at 4-101 in the 23rd over, at which point spinners Imad Wasim and Yasir Shah had two wickets each and it was unclear whether Australia would bat out their overs.
The allrounder offered a caught-behind chance on 10 but Mohammad Rizwan spilled the catch that could have reduced Australia to 5-119.
Maxwell settled after the reprieve, passing 50 in 53 balls by taking measured rather than manic risks as he formed a momentum-shifting partnership of 134 runs with Alex Carey.
Maxwell was clean bowled on 76 by Usman Shinwari in the 47th over but recalled when replays revealed it was a clear no-ball.
The excitement machine continued to play some outrageous strokes before falling in the final over of Australia's innings, when he attempted to get back on strike after running one but was found short of his ground by Shan Masood.
Carey, who scored 55 to register his maiden half-century for Australia, went down swinging at the final ball of the innings as Australia hunted a seventh straight ODI victory.
The keeper was lucky not to be run out for 49, when the ball deflected off of Shinwari and rolled onto the stumps but the bails somehow weren't dislodged.
A collapse of 4-45 followed a positive start from Usman Khawaja (62) and Aaron Finch, who scored 39 and set a new record for most runs by an Australian in a five-match ODI series.
Finch has tallied 398 runs in the four matches against Pakistan, one month after pundits were starting to call for him to be axed amid a concerning form slump.
A gastro bug forced Jason Behrendorff to miss the match while spearhead Pat Cummins was rested, with Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kane Richardson called into the XI that defeated Pakistan on Wednesday to bank a series victory.
- with AAP, AFP