Just 24 hours after becoming only the third batsman in history to register 2, 000 T20I runs, Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik reached another landmark during the side’s clash against Australia at Harare on Monday.
The veteran batsman became the first player to feature in 100 T20 Internationals.
The 36-year-old overtook compatriot Shahid Afridi who retired from the game with 99 T20Is under his belt. India’s MS Dhoni is the next most capped player with 90 appearances followed by Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez who has played in 83 matches.
On Sunday, Malik had become only the third batsman to go past the 2,000-run mark in the format during his unbeaten innings of 37 in Pakistan’s 74-run win over Zimbabwe. New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill have also crossed the mark.
The right-hander has been in stupendous form in T20 cricket over the past two seasons. His excellent form has been one of the primary reasons for Pakistan’s dominance which has seen them win 20 of their last 23 T20I clashes.
In his last 25 T20 innings for Pakistan, Malik has scored 777 runs at an average of over 70 and a strike-rate above 150.
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The match will see the No1 and No3 ranked T20I teams go head-to-head in what is descending into a four-way battle for the top billing.
SARFRAZ’S PAKISTAN ON A ROLL
The 74-run win on Sunday was the 12th win in their last 13 matches for Pakistan who have been the kings of the format for the past year or so. Sarfraz Ahmed’s men have now won eight T20 matches on the bounce, a first in Pakistan’s history.
The men in green have now won 20 of the 23 matches they have played under Sarfraz’s captaincy and bear the look of a well-oiled machine capable of overturning any opposition in front of them.
Their bowling attack has been especially, has been on song and will be tough proposition for Australia to navigate on Monday.
AUSTRALIA SEARCH FOR FIRST WIN IN LANGER’S TENURE
Justin Langer’s tenure as the coach of Australia could not have got off to a more horrific start after his men were resoundingly beaten in each of the five ODIs and sole T20 they played against England.
Attempting to usher in a new era for Australian cricket after the fallout of the ball-tampering saga has not been easy so far for Langer and his men and they will hope that a change of surroundings in Zimbabwe can bring about a drastic change in their fortunes.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Hussain Talat, Sarfraz Ahmed (c and wk), Asif Ali, Shoaib Malik, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Usman Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Nawaz.
Australia: D’Arcy Short, Aaron Finch (c), Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Agar, Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, Mitchell Swepson, Billy Stanlake.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also confirmed that left-arm spinner Axar Patel has been brought in as Washington’s replacement for the three-match ODI series which will be played after three T20s. The T20 series begins on Tuesday in Manchester.