The Australian cricket team has defeated Afghanistan by 66 runs in the only ODI at Sharjah. The Afghan cricketers fought hard in the match, but, they didn’t have enough firepower to upset the Kangaroos. Due to the extremely hot conditions at Sharjah, the organizers decided to start the match at 6 pm in the evening. The Aussie captain, Michael Clarke, won the toss and decided to bat first.
In the absence of Shane Watson, Matthew Wade came to open the innings with David Warner. The Australian opening pair was off to a flyer. Warner struck some superb shots on the off side. It seemed that Australia was on course, but, all of a sudden, Warner played a rash shot and threw his wicket away. It was a short delivery from Shapoor Zadran and Warner tried to cut it through point, but, he was beaten by the bounce. The ball took the outside edge of the bat and the wicketkeeper took an easy catch.
Michael Clarke walked on to the ground to bat at no. 3. The Australian captain looked in fine form right from the first second. He played a delightful straight drive off Zadran and then drove Gulbodin Naib through extra cover. Both Wade and Clarke rotated the strike pretty well. These two added 131 runs for the second wicket. In the 35th over, Afghanistan got the second breakthrough. It was a flighted delivery from Mohammad Nabi. Wade tried to flick it towards the leg side, but, he was beaten in the flight.
The ball took the leading edge of the bat and went straight into the hands of the bowler who took a low catch. The debutant, Glenn Maxwell, was sent to bat up the order to hit some lusty blows. But, the youngster got out early. He tried to hit Nabi out of the park, but, he didn’t manage to get enough elevation and end up hitting the ball straight down the throat of long on.
Michael Hussey hit some huge sixes towards the end of the innings and added 53 runs off just 30 balls for the sixth wicket with George Bailey to take Australia to a decent total of 272. Chasing a target of 273 runs was not easy for the Afghanistan team against the Australian bowling line up.
The Afghanistan team lost the first wicket in the second over when Mitchell Starc knocked over Javed Ahmadi. It was a quick delivery and swung back after pitching in line of the middle stump. Ahmadi was cramped for room and he only managed to get an inside edge back on to the stumps. Asghar Stanikzai played well for Afghanistan and scored a half century.
Mohammad Nabi also played some aggressive shots and he took the spinners apart. He hit Doherty and Maxwell for two sixes each. He was looking dangerous, but, Johnson knocked him over with a full pitched delivery. After that, there was not much resistance shown by the Afghanistan players. The young left arm fast bowler, Mitchell Starc, took 4 wickets for Australia and was declared man of the match.