ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Glenn Maxwell bowled a breathtaking double-wicket maiden last over to earn one-run victory in the third and final one-day international against Pakistan and ensure Australia stayed on top of world ranking with a 3-0 whitewash in the series.
Pakistan needed just two runs off the last six balls, but Maxwell (2-41) clean bowled Sohail Tanvir off the second delivery and then tall Mohammad Irfan missed the next three deliveries before giving up an easy catch off the last ball.
Tanvir and Zulfiqar Babar had brought Pakistan within sight of victory with a 22-run ninth wicket stand before Maxwell s brilliance saw them dismissed for 230 after Australia was restricted at 231-9.
But Australia should have separated the pair and made it 208-9 when Faulkner dislodged the bails at the non-striker s end with Babar inches short of the crease, but surprisingly none of the Australians appealed.
It s always tough to win a series overseas so very satisfying to win 3-0, Australia captain George Bailey said. We didn t quite play our best in all three games, but it s a positive when you find ways to win despite that.
Pakistan s regular captain Misbah-ul-Haq opted to sit out from the dead rubber match in one of the four changes made by Pakistan and stand-in captain Shahid Afridi did well to restrict Australia after losing the toss.
However, the brittle batting lineup continued to struggle against Australia s pace and spin and even the two replacements Sohaib Maqsood (34) and Umar Amin (19) couldn t bat around top scorer Asad Shafiq (50).
This game we had to win and we missed the opportunity, Afridi said. In the batting ... the thing we are missing is partnerships, we are not finishing properly.
Sarfraz Ahmed (32) and Ahmed Shehzad (26) had provided a good start of 56 in 11 overs before left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty struck with his first ball when he clean bowled Shehzad.
Ahmed was run out while going for a needless second run and Fawad Alam fell to a brilliant anticipation by Steven Smith, who changed his position from first slip to leg slip in time and caught the left-hander without scoring.
Shafiq and Maqsood then cruised Pakistan to 154-3 by putting on 74 runs for the fourth wicket stand before both departed within four runs and Afridi fell in his usual reckless fashion by giving a skier to Smith at mid on.
Earlier, Australia s total revolved around Smith (77 off 105 balls) and David Warner (56 off 63 balls) half centuries before Pakistan hit back through Tanvir s 3-40 and Afridi s 2-44.
Left-arm fast bowler Tanvir, playing his first match of the series, restricted Australia s batsmen and also got the prized wicket of Smith to finish with 3-40 off 10 overs.
Afridi caught and bowled Warner with his legspin as Australia struggled to score freely on the slow wicket of Sheikh Zayed Stadium in the second half of its innings.
Warner provided a 48-run start with Aaron Finch (18) and added 54 more runs with Smith before Pakistan pegged back Australia.
Warner completed his half century with a swept six over midwicket off left-arm spinner Babar before he lobbed an easy catch back to Afridi.
Tanvir bowled to a superb line and length as Pakistan leaked only 9 runs in the second batting powerplay, getting the wickets of struggling Phil Hughes (5) and Brad Haddin (2).
Smith added 40 runs for the seventh wicket stand with James Faulkner (33) before Tanvir first had Smith bowled off a full length delivery and then Amin took his second catch in the deep to dismiss Faulkner.