Pakistan's Imad Wasim is just too good with the ball in big T20 win over Australia

Denzil Pinto 23:46 24/10/2018
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  • Imad Wasim could not have asked for a better return to international cricket as his three wickets saw Pakistan thrash a sorry Australia in the opening match of the T20 series on Wednesday.

    The all-rounder made up for his duck by producing the goods with the ball as he tormented the Australian batsmen from the very first delivery. Defending 155 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Australians finished nowhere near their target as they were all out for 89 in a crushing 66-run defeat.

    The UAE has not been kind to the Australians in T20s, as this measly effort was their joint third-lowest total – matching their innings from the 2012 series against Pakistan in Dubai.

    But Wednesday’s performance was just another example of why Pakistan are the top-ranked team in T20s.

    While Faheem Ashraf finished with 2-10, it was Wasim (3-20) who played the instrumental role that set the platform for a crushing victory.

    A fit-again Wasim needed just six deliveries to prove why his recall to the national team after a year away was justified. Opening with the ball, the left-arm spinner rattled the stumps of Aaron Finch (0) before D’Arcy Short got the same treatment when he edged on.

    It left the tourists in big trouble at 5-2 and it went from bad to worse for Finch’s side. Glenn Maxwell became Ashraf’s first victim while Ben McDermott was run-out in the same over.

    Yet Wasim looked dangerous every time he had the ball and was ultimately rewarded with his third when Alex Carey edged behind to Sarfraz Ahmed.

    With the Aussies reeling at 22-5 after four overs, they did battle briefly when tail-enders Nathan Coulter-Nile and Ashton Agar put on 38 runs for seventh wicket.

    But it was only a matter of time before Pakistan claimed victory as impressive teenage seamer Shaheen Afridi (2-23) and 20-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan (1-16) wrapped up the win in 16.5 overs.

    Earlier, the start was delayed by 15 minutes due to a floodlight failure  but as soon as the first ball was bowled, the Pakistan openers made a promising start.

    Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam, who both fared strongly in the second Test, laid the groundwork for their competitive total. The pair had hit a blistering 32 runs in the first four overs before Zaman fell cheaply to Billy Stanlake’s bouncer.

    The tourists were made to wait to get their second wicket after being frustrated by Mohammad Hafeez and Azam.

    It was left to an unlikely man to break the 73-run stand with batsman Short stepping up with the ball. The 28-year-old had never taken a wicket in his three T20I innings as a slow left-armer, and saw Hafeez mistime his shot to present an easy catch for McDermott.

    At 105-2 with seven overs to go and still wickets in hand, Pakistan would have fancied their chances of posting an imposing total.

    But Australia had other ideas as pacers Billy Stanlake and Andrew Tye took charge to stun the hosts’ batsmen.

    Asif Ali (2), Hussain Talat (9), Faheem (0), Sarfraz (0) and Shadab didn’t even have time to settle at the crease as Pakistan lost six wickets for 28 runs.

    While Azam went on to finish with 68, Hasan Ali showed he can also be handy with the bat. The left-armer struck a vital eight-ball 17 including two fours and a six in the final over off Nathan Coulter-Nile.

    BRIEF SCORES: Pakistan 155-8, 20 overs (Babar Azam 68, Andrew Tye 3-24, Billy Stanlake 3-21) beat Australia 89 (Nathan Coulter-Nile 34, Imad Wasim 3-20) by 66 runs.