Australia thumps Pakistan by 8 wickets in 1st ODI

FILE - In this Thursday, March 7, 2019 file photo, Australia's captain Aaron Finch walks to bat in the nets during a training session ahead of their third one day international cricket match against India in Ranchi, India. Captain Aaron Finch smashed a century to lead Australia to a thumping eight-wicket win over Pakistan in the first one-day international in Sharjah Friday, March 22. Finch made 116 off 135 balls while Shaun Marsh hit an unbeaten 91 as the world champions reached 281-2 in 49 overs after Pakistan had earlier totaled 280-5. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi, file)

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates — Captain Aaron Finch smashed a century to lead Australia to a thumping eight-wicket win over Pakistan with six balls to spare in the first one-day international on Friday.

Finch made 116 off 135 balls while Shaun Marsh hit an unbeaten 91 as the world champions reached 281-2 in 49 overs. Pakistan missed the pace of Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi, who were among six potential World Cup players rested for the series.

Earlier, left-hander Haris Sohail struck his maiden ODI hundred. His undefeated 101 off 115 balls guided Pakistan to 280-5 after captain Shoaib Malik had won the toss and elected to bat.

Umar Akmal, playing his first international for more than two years, scored 48 after being dropped on 12. He smashed three sixes in one over off Jhye Richardson.

Finch was happy his team continued its fine ODI form from India, where it won the series 3-2 earlier this month.

"The way Shaun played, it was a huge bonus to take the pressure off me," said Finch, who hit eight fours and four sixes. "There's still room for improvement but nice to get four wins in a row."

Finch and Marsh shared a stand of 172 for the second-wicket. The Australian captain reached his 12th ODI hundred, and his second in Asia, with a six over long-on against Malik's off-spin.

"Early strikes were missing from our side," Malik said. "The way Finch and Marsh batted, they controlled the innings."

The second match will be played at the same venue on Sunday.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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