KARACHI : Pakistan have defeated Australia by six wickets in the final of the T20I triangular series in Harare.
Pakistan’s innings got off to the worst possible start with Glenn Maxwell picking up two wickets in the very first over of the innings. Debutant Sahibzada Farhan and Hussain Talat were not able to trouble the scorers and went back to the pavilion without even scoring a single run.
Captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Fakhar Zaman got Pakistan back on track with a brisk 45-run partnership but just when the Men in Green were looking to establish some sort of control, Sarfraz was run-out after scoring 28 runs.
Zaman kept on dominating the Aussie bowlers — despite the skipper’s dismissal — along with the experienced Shoaib Malik. The left-handed batsman was in unstoppable hitting form as he smacked the bowlers to all parts of the ground. He scored 91 runs of 46 balls which included 12 fours and three sixes while he also notched up a brilliant 107-run match winning partnership with Malik.
En route to his third half-century of the series, Zaman became the highest run scorer in T20Is during 2018 while also securing the record for scoring most runs in a series for Pakistan. Zaman also crossed the 500-run mark in the calendar year, becoming only the third batsman to do so after India’s Virat Kohli and Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad.
After Zaman’s departure Malik and Asif Ali ensured that Pakistan smoothly sailed over the line. Malik remained not out on 43 runs while Asif Ali stayed unbeaten on 17 runs.
This was also the highest successful run chase ever by Pakistan in T20I cricket.
In a largely unimpressive bowling show from Australia, Maxwell picked up two wickets while Jhye Richardson picked up a solitary wicket.
Earlier Australia had set Pakistan a target of 184 runs, after Finch had won the toss and decided to bat first.
Aaron Finch and D’Arcy Short provided Australia with an ideal platform with a 95-run opening stand which helped the team post a strong total on the board.
Finch muscled his way to 47 runs off just 27 balls — which included two fours and three maximums.
Short struggled to middle the ball in the initial phase of his innings but he made up for it in the latter stages of the innings. He ended up as the highest run scorer in the innings with 76 runs off 53 balls with the help of seven fours and four sixes.
For Pakistan Mohammad Amir picked up three wickets while Shadab Khan claimed two wickets.
Pakistan were abysmal in the field in the earlier stages of the match but that does not take anything away from Shadab Khan’s spectacular one-handed catch at mid-off to dismiss Alex Carey.
Zaman bagged the award for, both, player of the match and the series due to his brilliant batting.