A 63 run partnership between Glenn Maxwell and George Bailey has guided Australia to victory by four wickets in the first One Day match against Pakistan.
Mitchell Starc starred with the ball claiming 5/42 and Michael Clarke score an invaluable 66, but it really is the partnership between Maxwell and Bailey that should grab the headlines.
Australia had much to do in chasing Pakistan’s 198 when Maxwell joined Bailey at the crease following Clarke’s dimissal.
The run rate was more than managable, but the Pakistani spinners were starting to put the squeeze on and runs, particuarly boundaries, were difficult to come by.
Neither Bailey nor Maxwell paniced. They paced themselves and kept the required rate under control without taking risks. Bailey and Maxwell then made their charge at the right time, with 14 runs off Sohail Tanvir in the 45th, including a well struck 6 by Maxwell.
Maxwell has a reputation for big hitting in domestic cricket, but he was restrained ad only went big at the right time. When Maxwell was dimissed the next over, the game was as good as won.
While it was Maxwell with the vital boundaries, George Bailey showed remarkable control. 57 off 88 balls, once he was settled Bailey looked like a man who had the match under control. Since coming into the one day side, Bailey has scored 401 runs at an average off 44.
What is impressive about these numbers is they haven’t been easy runs. He has scored those runs against England, on slow, low scoring Caribbean wickets and now in a tough match against Pakistan. He should be relishing batting on harder Australian wickets.
Bailey and Maxwell aside, the captain, Michael Clarke, played a huge role in the win with a 66 coming in at number three. Hopefully he stays there.
The rest of the batting was disappointing and there is certainly going to need to be improvement against the spinners if Australia are to be certain of victory in the next 2 games.
Mitchell Starc set up the win with 5 wickets. Starc has shown in domestic cricket he has the potential to be the best white ball bowler in the country. In 9 one day games he already has 2 four wicket hauls and now a 5 for. He’ll only get better. James Pattinson chipped in with three cheap wickets while Mitchell Johnson was disappointing with 1/43 off nine.
All in all it was a good win in a tough game. The most pleasing aspect was the performance of Bailey & Maxwell in a pressure situation. It was great to finally see someone other than a Hussey play an important innings, late in a game and guide Australia to victory.
Looking forward to the remaining games, I’d hope to see more runs at the top of the order and Alistair McDermott given a game. It will also be interesting to see if the selectors bring Xavier Doherty back into the line up, given the difficulty we had scoring against the Pakistani spinners. Then again, Doherty isn’t Saeed Ajmal.