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ACL Game 2: Experienced Aussies a class above Pakistan XI

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

Six balls remained in game two of the Aussie Cricket League, with Australia needing just one run to win.

But the game wasn’t over.

Pakistan’s Sohail Sadiq stormed in and sent Leigh Booth’s middle stump clattering into the turf behind him.

Another perfectly executed yorker saw Jordan Hammond suffer the same fate next ball.

Suddenly Australia’s batsmen were scrambling to put the pads on, before four leg byes sealed victory with three balls to spare.

Somewhat of an anticlimax, yet a justified result.

The Aussies had been in cruise control, with champion bat Graeme Rummans crafting a vital 44, and the score 3-124 in reply to Pakistan’s 5-125.

Umair Butt had Rummans caught behind pulling, the first of three wickets to fall in four balls as Australia scraped to victory.

“It got a little too close I think,” reflected Australia XI skipper Matt Chasemore in his post-match interview.

Up until the nervy finish however, Australia had controlled the run chase superbly.

Chasemore (24) and Jarrad Dowling (37) were all class as they put on 52 for the opening stand, with Yousaf Iqbal’s leg-spin finding the outside edge of Chasemore to break the partnership in the ninth over.

Number three bat Rummans combined with Dowling to lift the score to 88, before Butt castled Dowling for the first of his two big wickets.

A Matthew Cox run out did little to stunt Australia’s scoring, as Rummans steered the Aussie outfit to within two runs of victory.

The total of 125 Australia would be tasked with chasing hadn’t always been on the cards though, with a much more confronting target beckoning after Pakistan’s fast start with the bat.

Fortune favoured the brave early in the Pakistani innings, as Babar Nadeem and Asad Usman (12) came out swinging, crunching their way to 0-31 from four overs.

The left-arm orthodox of Jarryd Straker and pace of Josh Dowling – not Jarrad – swung the momentum back in Australia’s favour by the close of the powerplay however, with Straker dismissing Usman, and Dowling producing a maiden.

By the seventh over, Pakistan had well and truly stalled, Straker backing up Dowling’s maiden with a wicket maiden of his own, sending Haseeb Quereshi packing for a duck.

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Straker had 2-5 from his first three overs and would finish with 2-13 from four, earning player of the match honours.

Chasemore was particularly pleased with his performance.

“I knew what (Straker) was going to do, so bringing him on in the powerplay was minimal risk but maximum reward for us. He did a fantastic job,” Chasemore said.

Undeterred, Nadeem revived the Pakistan innings with his crisp ball-striking, eventually holing out for a 62-ball 66 to give Jordan Hammond his second wicket.

Yousaf Iqbal (29* off 21) brought the Pakistani outfit home, closing the innings with a spectacular ramp off Jayde Herrick’s bowling.

Pakistan XI captain Haseeb Quereshi rued his side’s batting through the middle overs, but still found plenty of positives to take away.

“I think we got ourselves tied down a bit in those middle overs, so that’s something we’ll be looking to improve on in the next couple of games,” Quereshi said.

“I think if we’d have got up to 140 it would’ve been a bit more of a challenging total.

“I think credit goes to Australia because they played really well, but I’m just proud of the boys and the way they fought back and made a game out of it.

“We don’t have much of a rest so there’s no point dwelling on the negatives. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and come back tomorrow.”



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