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Where should the Pakistan Super League Final be played?
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Sarfraz Ahmed was the only one to play an innings of note, finishing on 72* as visitors were bowled out for 244.

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By Abdullah Ansari (6th January, 2017)

Toss: Australia won the toss, Steve Smith opted to bat first.

Teams

Australia: MT Renshaw, DA Warner, UT Khawaja, SPD Smith (c), PSP Handscomb, HWR Cartwright, MS Wade (wk), MA Starc, SNJ O'Keefe, JR Hazlewood, NM Lyon.

Pakistan: Sharjeel Khan, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan.

For once (when Pakistan probably didn't want it), the weather was clear at the start of the day and the match began early as scheduled. And disaster struck in the first over from Hazlewood - Azhar tried to work the ball into the leg-side and got a leading edge, caught by the bowler for 11. Lyon started off with the pacer, troubling the Pakistan batsmen straight away but it was Hazlewood who struck again in his third over as Babar missed a straight delivery and was plumb LBW for 9. Yasir and Younis set out to bat defensively but there was almost a run out after some good fielding. With the pressure mounting, Younis looked to go for the big shot against Lyon but was deceived by the bowlers variations and was caught for 13, meaning he remains 23 runs behind 10,000. Yasir resumed his long vigil at the crease with Misbah, surviving over after over with the captain despite being beaten a few times. He showed good temperament to not go for an ambitious shot at any point. However, he finally fell to O'Keefe as he looked to defend the ball but it turned and took the outside edge with Bird taking an excellent catch inches off the turf at second slip. Shafiq was positive but that almost brought around his downfall as he edged one to Smith who grassed a tough chance. Shafiq looked to continue playing positively whenever the bowlers erred as Pakistan finished the session at 128/5.

The pacers started off in the 2nd session and a few overs in, Starc's frustration came to an end as Shafiq chopped one onto his stumps for 30. Sarfraz came out looking to be positive to relieve the pressure and almost gave it away as he drove at one with Bird getting a hand to it at gully. The spinners settled down into a rhythm with the batsmen looking to play the occasional big shot, with Misbah getting one of his trademark sixes. However, he fell going for a big shot once again, for possibly the last time in international cricket as he was caught at mid-off for 38 off O'Keefe. Wahab took Lyon for 3 fours in an over including a strong reverse sweep but he perished in the next over, caught behind, given out on review due to a small spike on Snicko. Sarfraz continued on, bringing up a fifty but Amir was next to fall as he was run out after a mix-up. Sarfraz took Lyon for 20 in an over but Australia took the 2nd new ball and sealed a 220-run win as Imran was dismissed.

Summary: Another shattering loss for Pakistan but one that was always on the cards after Australia declared with 114 overs remaining in the game. Pakistan will rue missed chances in the series but the bowling was horrendous throughout. Six losses in a row is unprecedented for Pakistan, and it's also 12 consecutive losses in Australia - a lot of work coming up for Mickey Arthur in the next few months. After Azhar fell in the first over, it always felt as though a loss was around the corner and Australia duly wrapped it up in good time with a session remaining. Misbah looked like he might take the game deep but once again fell to the spinner going for the big shot - perhaps his last act in international cricket.

Fall of wickets:

2-55 (Azhar Ali, 16.6 ov)
3-67 (Babar Azam, 20.4 ov)
4-82 (Younis Khan, 29.5 ov)
5-96 (Yasir Shah, 43.5 ov)
6-136 (Asad Shafiq, 57.3 ov)
7-188 (Misbah-ul-Haq, 70.6 ov)
8-202 (Wahab Riaz, 72.6 ov)
9-224 (Mohammad Amir, 78.4 ov)
10-244 (Imran Khan, 80.2 ov)

Discuss!