David Warner scored his first century since returning from a ban as holders Australia ran out comfortable 41-run winners over Pakistan in the World Cup at Taunton on Wednesday.
The opener, back after serving a 12-month suspension for his part in last year’s ball-tampering scandal, struck 107 in Australia’s 307 all out in 49 overs.
Mohammad Amir took five wickets as Pakistan recovered from a poor start in which Warner and Aaron Finch shared a 146-run opening stand to limit the damage.
Pakistan reached 136-2 in reply and then, after wickets tumbled, launched a late counter-attack before Australia wrapped up a third victory in four games to move second in the table.
Despite beating hosts England, Pakistan have lost two of their four matches and have work to do if they are to have a chance of reaching the semi-finals.
Warner, who notched his 15th ODI century, said Australia’s lower-than-expected total had left the game in the balance.
“When I got out we had 70 balls to go, as the ‘in’ batter you want to bat 50 overs,” he said. “We should have been around 340-50, but credit to Pakistan, their second spells were fantastic and made it hard for us to hit down the ground.
“Our bowlers bowled fantastic, they probably got closer than we expected but it was a great game.”
A game of fluctuating fortunes was tipping slightly Pakistan’s way when skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and Wahab Riaz began swinging the bat to edge their side towards the target.
With six overs and three wickets in hand Wahab Riaz had scored 45 in 39 balls with Sarfaraz also well set as Pakistan reached 264-7. But Mitchell Starc returned to the attack to have Riaz caught behind to the thinnest of edges.
Starc then bowled Amir before Sarfaraz was brilliantly run out for 40 by Glenn Maxwell’s direct hit to end the contest.
“We made some runs and got starts but we’ve got to convert them and go long. If you want to win the match your top four must score runs,” said Sarfaraz, who faces a huge clash with India next.