Australia one-day captain George Bailey has said that participating in tough contests will benefit his side when they play at next year’s World Cup, following the team’s one-run win over Pakistan last weekend.
The Aussies had already guaranteed series victory before the third ODI on Sunday but were made to sweat in order to clinch a 3-0 whitewash.
With Pakistan requiring just two from the final over, it was a Glenn Maxwell double wicket maiden that rescued a result that returned the Australians to the summit of the 50-over ICC world rankings.
And whilst the series was already wrapped up, Bailey believes that the experience will help his side develop and improve.
The narrowest of margins separated Australia and Pakistan in the final match of their three-game ODI series. After winning the toss and electing to bat, the Aussies got off to a fairly solid start, with David Warner (56) and Steve Smith (77) both scoring half-centuries.
But they were the side’s top scorers and James Faulkner (33) was their only other teammate to pass 20 as they ended their innings 231-9.
In reply, Pakistan’s top order also went well, with Asad Shafiq (50) leading the way with support from Sarfraz Ahmed (32) and Sohaib Maqsood (34).
The first moment of drama came when Steve Smith moved from slip to leg slip and then took a catch to dismiss Fawad Alam for a second-ball duck. The rules state that fielders – especially those close to the bat – can’t change position during the bowlers run-up.
Nevertheless, the umpires allowed the dismissal, but the home side almost had the last laugh regardless. Pakistan required just two runs from the final over, with tailenders Sohail Tanvir and Zulfiqar Babar at the crease.
Glenn Maxwell showed tremendous nerve to bowl Tanvir with the second ball of the over, follow it with three dot balls, and then have number 11 Mohammad Irfan caught by Faulkner off the final ball of the match.
It was a close run thing, and showcased drama that we hope will typify next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
As quoted by ESPN Cricinfo, Bailey concurs: "I think that's the sort of stuff that will happen in World Cups in games that come to the crunch point and then you will have to absorb pressure and stand up and guys will have to deliver match-winning performances.
“So the more you can find ways to win games like we did tonight, that holds you down the road.”
"To be honest, I don't think we played our best cricket over here, appreciating the conditions are different and challenging and we worked hard to prepare for those," Bailey added.
"The most pleasing thing, for my part, was the fact that we had to battle in every game. Not everything went our way and there weren't scores of 300, to see our energy and fight and intent to get through difficult phases, and absorb the pressure Pakistan were putting and
throw it back on them - I think that was more pleasing.”
Australia will need to play better cricket to satisfy their ambition to win the World Cup on home soil but they showed a lot of mental strength to secure victory from a difficult situation.
Their World Cup campaign begins against England on February 14th before they play further group games against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Scotland.