Records tumbled in Harare as Australia crushed Zimbabwe by 100 runs in the T20 tri-series on Tuesday.
Australian captain Aaron Finch smashed a world record 172, while his opening stand of 223 with D’Arcy Short turned out to be the best ever as well as the Aussies posted 229-2.
In their case, Zimbabwe put up a brief fight before screeching to a halt at 129-9. Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar took 2-16 while seamer Andrew Tye took 3-12 to complete the biggest even win in T20Is for Australia.
Earlier, Finch fell agonisingly short of the highest-ever innings in the format. The explosive opener passed the 156 he made against England in 2013, and had Chris Gayle’s 175 in his sights, but was out for 172.
Gayle’s score was made for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League five years ago, against a Pune Warriors side captained by Finch.
That mark looked set be eclipsed in the history books on Tuesday as Finch reached 172 with two balls of the innings left. However, in bizarre circumstances, he over-balanced chasing a wide delivery from Blessing Muzarabani and hit his own wicket.
Finch’s overall score came off 76 balls and comprised 16 fours and 10 maximums.
During the opening stand of 223, Short was very much the silent partner with a 42-ball 46. Remarkably, in a final total of 229 for two, Zimbabwe bowler Tendai Chisoro conceded just 19 runs from his four overs.
After his century, Finch said: “Feeling good. The wicket played better than we thought.
“It came on well. I knew about the records when I was batting, but a few things went my way today. I took the strike from Short a bit, but that kind of innings for him will also help him. When the wickets get slower and lower, that kind of innings will help.
“I was captain of the opposition when Gayle got 175, so I remembered that record as well. The wicket is very good, so we have to bowl well too.”
Australia batsman and captain Aaron Finch broke numerous records as the men in gold thrashed a hapless Zimbabwe attack during their T20 tri-series clash in Harare on Tuesday.
Finch smashed 172 from just 76 deliveries as the Aussies made 229-2 in their 20 overs.
It is the highest score made by any batsman in T20 Internationals, breaking Finch’s own record of 156 from 63 deliveries he made against England in 2013.
Finch added a world-record 223 for the opening stand with D’Arcy Short (46 from 42 balls) in 19.2 overs. It is not only the best opening stand in T20 Internationals but also the highest-ever partnership for any wicket.
They bettered the 171-run stand for the opening wicket between New Zealand’s Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson against Pakistan in Hamilton in 2016.
Finch smashed 16 fours and 10 sixes as Zimbabwe bowlers were dispatched to all corners of the Harare Sports Club. Only Tendai Chisoro escaped with respectable figures of 0-19 from his four overs.
The stand of 223 is the second highest stand in all T20 cricket, falling just short of the 229-run stand between Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers against the Gujarat Lions in IPL 2016.
To cap a manic day in Harare, Finch was dismissed hit-wicket in the final over. Finch thus fell short of the highest ever T20 score of 175 made by Chris Gayle for RCB against Pune in IPL 2013.
Fast bowler Billy Stanlake picked up four top order wickets and finished with sensational figures of 4-8 as Pakistan were reduced to 47-5 inside 10 overs and eventually bowled out for 116.
In the chase, Australia raced to the target just one wicket down and inside 11 overs with captain Aaron Finch smashing 68 from 33 deliveries.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s team started the series with a 74-run win over Zimbabwe on Sunday. With the win, Sarfraz Ahmed became the most successful Pakistan T20 captain with 20 triumphs in the format.
Australia are looking to put the disastrous limited over tour of England behind them. On Monday, Australia won the toss and decided to bowl first.
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