Aaron Finch rises to top spot in ICC T20 rankings ahead of Fakhar Zaman and KL Rahul

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Finch has risen to a career-high spot of No1 in the latest rankings.

Aaron Finch’s brilliant showing in the recently concluded T20 tri-series in Zimbabwe saw the Australia skipper rise to the top of the ICC rankings for batsmen.

Finch’s world-record 172 in a round-robin clash against the hosts was among notable contributions during the tri-series. That display has seen the Aussie jump three spots to the No1 position in the ranking.

Even more impressive has been the improvement in Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman’s ranking who has climbed 44 spots to the No2 position, a career-best for him.

The Pakistan opener was in outstanding touch throughout the tournament and his career-best 91 in the final against Australia on Sunday led his side to a six-wicket win.

The new top-three in the ICC rankings have all achieved career-best positions with India’s KL Rahul jumping nine spots to claim the No3 spot.

The right-handed batsman was on song at the start of India’s T20 series in England where he registered an unbeaten 101 in the opener at Manchester.

Pakistan batsman Babar Azam has dropped to the fifth spot in the table after missing the tri-series due injury. He lies behind New Zealand’s Colin Munro who dropped down to fourth and ahead of Australia’s Glenn Maxwell who occupies the sixth spot.

India opener Rohit Sharma’s third T20I ton in the decider against England on Sunday has seen him rise to the 11th spot with skipper Virat Kohli dropping down to the 12th.

In the bowling department, wrist-spinners continue to rule the roost with the top-five positions all held by them. Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan continues to be the top-ranked bowler ahead of Pakistan’s Shadab Khan. New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi occupies the third spot ahead of India’s Yuzvendra Chahal in fourth.

West Indies’ Samuel Badree rounds up the top-five ahead of Kiwi spinner Mitchell Santner in the sixth spot.

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Live Cricket Blog: Glenn Maxwell clarifies his handshake snub of Sarfraz Ahmed

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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.

6:00pm – Glenn Maxwell clarifies his handshake snub with Sarfraz Ahmed

Glenn Maxwell had faced severe backlash from Pakistan fans on social media after video footage emerged of the Australian all-rounder seeming to snub Sarfraz Ahmed’s offer of a handshake after T20 tri-series final at Harare on Sunday. Pakistan had beaten the Aussies by six wickets before the incident took place.

On Monday, Maxwell took to social media to clarify the incident. Read what the Aussie had to say in our full story here.

5:30pm – Rohit Sharma decides third T20I ton to Sudan the rhinoceros

Rohit Sharma scored a brilliant unbeaten ton in the T20 decider against England on Sunday to lead India to thumping series win. Now, the wildlife enthusiast has dedicated what was his third T20I ton to Sudan – the last male white rhinoceros who passed away in Kenya at the age of 45 recently.

Read what the India opener said in our full story here.

Rohit had slammed his third T20I ton on Sunday.

Rohit had slammed his third T20I ton on Sunday.

4:00pm – Shahid Afridi backing Pakistan to win World Twenty20 title

Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi is backing Sarfraz Ahmed’s men to win the World T20 title in 2020. Pakistan on Sunday beat Australia by six wickets to claim the T20 tri-series title in Zimbabwe to maintain their impressive run in the format.

Read Afridi’s full quotes on the direction the Pakistan team is headed here.

The fan-favourite will be lining up for the Jamaica Tallawahs in the upcoming edition of the Caribbean Premier League. The veteran is hoping to make an impact when the tournament gets underway in August.

Read what Afridi had to say about his expectations for the 2018 edition of the CPL here.

Shahid Afridi played with St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in 2015.

Shahid Afridi played with St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in 2015.

3:00pm – Fakhar Zaman turning into big-match player for Pakistan

Fakhar Zaman’s outstanding knock of 91 in Pakistan’s six-wicket win in the final of the T20 tri-series final against Australia is his second major contribution in a major final. The left-handed opener had played a similar innings in Pakistan’s triumph in the ICC Champions Trophy final against India last year.

Read our analysis on how Fakhar is turning into a big-match player for his country here.

Fakhar Zaman knocked 91 on Sunday at Harare.

Fakhar Zaman knocked 91 on Sunday at Harare.

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Everything going according to plan for T20 kings Pakistan but opening conundrum remains

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Pakistan are struggling to find the perfect foil to Fakhar Zaman.

Pakistan sealed their highest successful T20I run-chase in their six-wicket win over Australia in the tri-series final at Harare on Sunday. Fakhar Zaman was the star of the show for the men in green with his 46-ball 91 ensuring Pakistan’s won despite his side losing two wickets in the first over of the chase.

The left-handed opening batsman has been in rich vein of form in the entire tri-series with his knock on Sunday coming after innings of 61, 47 and 73. However, while Fakhar has been in outstanding touch, the other opening slot remains a big worry for the Pakistan team management.

Fakhar went through three different opening partners in the tri-series itself. The scores by his partners in the series read 7, 0, 16, 0 and 0.

While Pakistan strengthened their hold on the No1 T20I ranking after their ninth consecutive series win and 24th victory in 28 matches, finding an able partner for Fakhar is turning out to be quite the headache.

Here, we analyse the options at Sarfraz Ahmed’s disposal.

MOHAMMAD HAFEEZ

The veteran all-rounder returned to Pakistan’s limited-overs setup after his bowling action was cleared by the ICC. Although he did pick up two wickets against Zimbabwe in his first match on return, Hafeez disappointed with the bat after being dismissed for just seven runs.

His second outing did not bring about any change in fortunes with the right-hander being dismissed for a duck by Australia’s Billy Stanlake. That was it for the 37-year-old who did not feature again in the rest of the tournament.

At his age, Hafeez is hardly going to be a long-term solution for Pakistan despite his record and they would be better served by looking elsewhere.

Hafeez is not long-term option for Pakistan.

Hafeez is no long-term option for Pakistan.

HARIS SOHAIL

Following Hafeez’s consecutive failures, it was Haris Sohail’s turn to partner Fakhar at the top. The 29-year-old has never been a regular feature in Pakistan’s T20 outfit and scores of 16 and 0 in the tri-series do not inspire much confidence going forward.

He was given two chances in Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand earlier this year and failed to stamp his authority.

The left-hander does not seem a natural fit in the format and it is doubtful that Pakistan will turn to him to open the innings after his Zimbabwe excursion.

Sohail has hardly set T20 cricket alight.

Sohail has hardly set T20 cricket alight.

SAHIBZADA FARHAN

The youngster was handed his international debut in the T20 series final, which means he is supremely talented or that the management was desperate after the flop shows by Hafeez and Sohail.

The 22-year-old Farhan got a harsh introduction to international cricket after he was stumped for a golden duck off the bowling of Glenn Maxwell.

The youngster had impressed in Islamabad United’s title triumph in the last edition of the Pakistan Super League where he scored a match-winning 44 in the final.

Despite his failure on debut, Farhan could be molded into a long-term option for Pakistan if he is backed the same way as Hussain Talat and Asif Ali have been so far after their performances in the PSL.

Farhan needs time to be groomed into the role.

Farhan needs time to be groomed into the role.

AZHAR ALI

Long been branded as a ‘Test specialist’, Azhar Ali has not played a single T20I for Pakistan in his career so far. His strike-rate in ODI cricket is below 75 but that does not mean Azhar is not an option.

The 33-year-old complemented Fakhar’s attacking approach in Pakistan’s Champions Trophy triumph in England. His workman like approach to batting worked wonders with Fakhar taking on the bowlers at the other end.

With Fakhar being in outstanding knick, it would not be the most outlandish of moves to partner him with Azhar in the format.

Azhar has shown that he perform an admirable job previously.

Azhar has shown that he can get the job done.

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