In a warm-up contest before the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against Australia commences Friday, Pakistan thrashed Cricket Australia XI (CA XI) by a whopping 196-run margin after its batting line-up set a target of 335 in 50 overs.
One down Babar Azam structured the touring party’s innings with his 113-ball 98 that saw him put hefty partnerships with Sharjeel Khan, who pulverised the opposition bowlers with his 62 at a towering strike rate of 159, Shoaib Malik, who fell one short of a half-century, and his cousin Umar Akmal, who scored 54 out of 39 balls.
In reply, CA XI failed to surmount the scoreboard pressure as their batting line-up crumbled in just 36.2 overs. Imad Wasim picked up opener Travis Dean in the very first over. The left-arm orthodox struck again on the first ball of his second over, returning the match figures of two for 23 in six overs.
Dropped for the home series against the West Indies after his debut ODI series against England in August-September last year, Hasan Ali removed three batsmen from the other end at an average of six.
Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik picked up two as Rahat Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, and skipper Azhar Ali picked up one wicket apiece.
After a regrettable fourth straight Test whitewash in Australia, Pakistan aim to restore their pride in the ODI series. Earlier, Pakistan named all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez as the 16th member of the squad on the recommendation of the team management — comprising of the captain and head coach Mickey Arthur.
The 36-year-old last turned out for Pakistan in August in the four-Test series against England on the British Isles. He was sent back to Pakistan after he aggravated his knee injury.
The right-handed opener has accumulated 5404 ODI runs at 32 since his debut against Zimbabwe at Sharjah in 2003.