Fakhar Zaman frustrates Australia again and other takeaways from Pakistan's T20 Tri-Series final win

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Leading the chase: Fakhar Zaman

There was more T20 success for Pakistan when they beat Australia in a thrilling Tri-Series final in Harare on Sunday.

Set a target of 184 following D’Arcy Short’s 76, Pakistan had it all to do especially when they lost two batsmen in the first two overs.

But, Sarfraz Ahmed’s side showed why they are the world’s best outfit in this format when they sealed their highest successful chase to win the game by six wickets and four balls to spare. It was Pakistan’s ninth consecutive T20 series victory.

Here are the takeaways from the game in Zimbabwe.

Short and Finch nearly make Pakistan pay with dropped catches

Having amassed scores of 68 and 172 in the first two games of the Tri-Series, Finch suffered a dip in form going into the match having scored 16 and 3. It could have been another brief stay at the crease for the opener had he not been dropped by Shoaib Malik on his first delivery.

But instead, the 31-year-old gradually found his feet before later hitting a boundary and a six in two consecutive deliveries off Shaheen Afridi. He gave Shadab Khan the same treatment with two more maximums before the teenage leg-spinner got his man for 47.

Sarfraz Ahmed’s men only had themselves to blame as to why Short reached 76.

He brought up his half-century with a maximum and ultimately, Shadab’s drop at backward point didn’t prove too costly in the end.

Coming up Short: D'Arcy scored 76 for Australia

Coming up Short: D’Arcy scored 76 for Australia

Shadab Khan’s brilliant catch

After dropping Short earlier on in the game, Shadab made up for his error in some style when he took one of the best catches in international cricket. Alex Carey struck the ball as cleanly as he could and looked certain to score a boundary but he and the rest of the cricketing world were scratching their heads and left in awe when Shadab pulled off a fantastic low one-handed catch.

Fakhar Zaman frustrates Australia as Pakistan show why they’re No.1

With Pakistan you just never know what type of performance you will see from them. After Sahibzada Farhan and Hussain Talat were removed by Glenn Maxwell inside the first two overs, Mickey Arthur’s side were staring at a defeat. But you can never write them off and Sunday’s game was another example.

Just three days after hitting 73 against the Australians, Fakhar Zaman was at it again as he went even bigger to register his highest T20I score of 91. The 28-year-old saw both his partners Farhan and Talat dismissed but he remained composed and built a partnership with Sarfraz and then Shoaib Malik which gave him the chance to accelerate his innings.

With Pakistan needing 89 from 54, Zaman raised his game, smashing 14 runs in three balls as well as back-to-back boundaries off Stonis. He was unable to reach the triple figures but Malik’s 43no and Asif Ali’s 11no ensured his efforts did not go to waste and proved once again why they are top of the world rankings.

Man in form: Fakhar Zaman

Man in form: Fakhar Zaman.

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Fakhar Zaman stars as Pakistan beat Australia to win Tri-Series in Harare

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Fakhar Zaman was in superb form in the Tri-Series final

A superb 91 off just 46 balls by opener Fakhar Zaman has set Pakistan up for a comfortable six wicket victory over Australia in the final of T20I Tri-Series in Harare today.

Pakistan are the No1 ranked T20 team in the world and they fully justified that ranking today after they slumped to 2 for 2 in the first over of their innings but turned it around to chase down Australia’s challenging target of 184 with four balls remaining for the loss of just two further wickets.

Chief architect was Zaman who clobbered 12 fours and three sixes at a run rate of 197.82. He was ably supported by captain Sarfraz Ahmed with 28 off 19 (4 fours, 1 six) and Shoab Malik 43 off 37 (3 fours, 1 six).

Earlier Australia compiled 183 for 8 with top scorer Darcy Short who finally shrugged off his batting woes with 76 off 53 including four towering sixes. Captain Aaron Finch added 47 off just 27 balls (2 fours, 3 sixes).

The full scorecard is below.

The sides had already met twice during the tournament with Australia triumphing by nine wickets in the first match after rolling Pakistan for just 116 while Pakistan hit back in the second with a comprehensive victory by 45 runs.

Earlier Australia won the toss and decided to bat on a chilly and cloudy day in Harare.

Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk), Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Jack Wildermuth, Ashton Agar, Andrew Tye, Jhye Richardson, Billy Stanlake

Pakistan XI: Fakhar Zaman, Sahibzada Farhan, Hussain Talat, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c/wk), Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi

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Live Cricket Blog: Sahibzada Farhan set for Pakistan debut

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Catch the latest happenings in the world of cricket.

Hello, Ashish Peter and the rest of the Sport360 team are in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things cricket.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout your day and the week but we want you to get involved, too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

9:00 pm – Tabraiz Shamsi picks up five wickets

South Africa wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi staked his claim for a spot in the Test team after picking up five wickets in the two-day warm-up match against Sri Lanka Board XI in Colombo.

South Africa will play two Tests – starting on July 12 – five ODIs and and T20 in Sri Lanka.

For more, click here.

8:00 pm – Sahibzada Farhan to debut

Sahibzada Farhan will make his Pakistan debut. Image: PCB/Twitter.

Sahibzada Farhan will make his Pakistan debut. Image: PCB/Twitter.

Pakistan batsman Sahibzada Farhan will make his international debut in the T20 tri-series final against Australia in Harare on Sunday.

Captain Sarfraz Ahmed said Farhan will open the innings in place of Haris Sohail.

Read more here.

5:00pm – Pakistan consolidate lead at the top of T20I rankings

No1 ranked T20 outfit Pakistan have extended their lead in the latest rankings released by the ICC on Saturday. The men in green have moved up to 131 points, six points ahead of India in second place while Australia have now slipped to the third position.

Read more on how the latest rankings are stacked in our full story here.

Pakistan have extended their lead at the top.

Pakistan have extended their lead at the top.

4:00pm – Faf du Plessis, Dinesh Chandimal seek clarity on ball-tampering laws

Ahead of the first Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa which will get underway at Galle on July 12, Faf du Plessis and Dinesh Chandimal are seeking further clarity from the ICC with regards to ball-tampering laws. The two skippers want to know what is permissible in the wake of ICC’s recent sanctions against Chandimal during Sri Lanka’s tour of West Indies.

Read what the two skippers had to say during their press conference in Colombo here.

The South Africa and Sri Lanka skippers pose together in Colombo.

The South Africa and Sri Lanka skippers pose together in Colombo.

3:00pm – Yuzvendra Chahal says England took calculated risks against Kuldeep

England’s batsman were much more assured in their handling of Kuldeep Yadav in the second T20 at Cardiff after the wrist-spinner had run riot with a five-wicket haul in the series opener. Yuzvendra Chahal gave his explanation as to what went right for England’s batsmen in Cardiff.

Read what the India spinner had to say in his full quotes here.

Chahal has had his say on England's performance in Cardiff.

Chahal has had his say on England’s performance in Cardiff.

2:00pm – Glenn Maxwell targeting Test return with Australia

Australia batsman Glenn Maxwell was in the thick of things during his side’s narrow win over Zimbabwe on Saturday. Maxwell struck a 38-ball 56 to led the Aussies to a five-wicket win. Now, the maverick batsman is targeting a return to Australia’s Test squad for the two-match series against Pakistan in the UAE later this year.

Read what Maxwell had to say about his Test recall chances in the full story here.

Glenn Maxwell has played only seven Tests so far in his career.

Glenn Maxwell has played only seven Tests so far in his career.

1:00pm – Shaheen Afridi gives Sarfraz Ahmed selection headache ahead of tri-series final

Pakistan will lock horns with Australia in the final of the T20 tri-series in Harare on Sunday. Both the sides have met twice already in the round-robin stage with each side garnering one win apiece.

The excellent showing of teenage pacer Shaheen Afridi in Pakistan’s 45-run win over Australia has given skipper Sarfraz Ahmed plenty to think about with regards to his team composition.

Read more about this mouthwatering T20 clash in our talking points for the final.

Shaheen Afridi had impressed in Pakistan's last match.

Shaheen Afridi had impressed in Pakistan’s last match.

12:30pm – Virat Kohli shares MS Dhoni’s birthday celebrations image

With the birthday wishes pouring in from all quarters for MS Dhoni, India skipper Virat Kohli wasn’t going to be left too far behind. Kohli took to Twitter to post an image of Dhoni’s face smeared with cake at the team hotel in Cardiff.

Read what Kohli had to say about the veteran on his birthday in the full story here.

Image - Twitter/@imVkohli.

Image – Twitter/@imVkohli.

11:00am – Birthday wishes pour in for India stalwart MS Dhoni

India stalwart turned 37 on Saturday and social media has been awash with wishes pouring in for the former skipper.

Suresh Raina, Sachin Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan, Virender Sehwag and many more have sent their wishes to ‘Captain Cool’ who on Friday became only the third Indian to make 500 international appearances.

Read how the cricketing fraternity has reacted to Dhoni’s birthday by clicking here.

MS Dhoni turned 37 on Saturday.

MS Dhoni turned 37 on Saturday.

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