The Aussies thumped the men in green by nine wickets at the Harare Sports Club after being set a target of just 117. The decision to make Pakistan bat first on Monday paid off for the Australians as Sarfraz Ahmed‘s men were bowled out for just 116.
Here, we look at the key talking points from Australia’s comprehensive victory.
STANLAKE’S FIERY SPELL BREAKS PAKISTAN’S BACK
After a comfortable afternoon against Zimbabwe’s bowlers, Pakistan’s batsmen were put through the wringer as pacer Billy Stanlake bowling a hostile spell at the start of the innings. Making full use of the extra bounce he is capable of generating, the lanky Australian express pacer had the Pakistan batsmen hopping around the crease.
Stanlake was asked to bowl four overs on the trot by skipper Aaron Finch and he delivered in style by picking up a wicket in each. He had Mohammad Hafeez, Hussain Talat and Sarfraz Ahmed all caught by Finch at first slip with extra bounce taking the batsmen by surprise.
His dismissal of Fakhar Zaman – who was caught behind – was a contentious one. Stanlake’s four-wicket burst removed the cream of Pakistan’s batting. His figures of 4-8 are the second best by any Aussie bowler in the format and behind only James Faulkner’s 5-27.
HORRIBLE MIX-UP COSTS PAKISTAN
After Stanlake’s fiery spell, Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik were tasked with resurrecting the Pakistan innings. The duo’s late fireworks in the tri-series opener had helped Pakistan up the ante after a sluggish start against Zimbabwe.
On Monday, a different job was required. However, it wasn’t to be as a horrible run-out derailed Pakistan’s journey.
With the partnership beginning to take shape, Asif took off for a double after tucking a Marcus Stoinis delivery towards square-leg. Malik, playing in his 100th T20 international for Pakistan, was not interested in the second run and a comical mix-up ensued which left the veteran stranded by some distance as Alex Carey whipped off the bails at the striker’s end.
Given the kind of form Malik has been in, it was a blow Pakistan were never going to recover from.
FINCH MAKES SHORT WORK OF PAKISTAN’S TARGET
Defending a total of 116 was always going to be a tough ask for Pakistan despite their impressive bowling attack and that turned out to be the case as Finch gave Australia a flying start.
The Aussie skipper attacked from the word go and he gave no chance to the Pakistan bowlers to settle down into a rhythm. Making full use of the powerplay restrictions, Finch was particularly aggressive towards Pakistan spinners Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan whom he tonked for five sixes on his way to a 27-ball half century.
Finch found an able ally in Travis Head following the dismissal of D’Arcy Short and the duo were rarely tested as they polished off Pakistan’s total before the completion of the 11th over. Finch played a captain’s knock, remaining unbeaten on 68 from 33 balls with the help of six sixes and four boundaries.
The three names were added to the collection during a glittering ceremony held in Dubai on Sunday.
Dravid became only the fifth India player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame while Ponting became the 25th Australia cricketer to do so. Meanwhile, Taylor became the seventh female cricketer to be a part of the exclusive club.
“The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame is our way of honouring the greats of our game. Only the very best players in the world are recognised for their contribution to cricket in this way and I would like to congratulate Rahul, Ricky and Claire who are wonderful additions to the list of cricketing luminaries in the Hall of Fame,” ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said during the ceremony.
Dravid, now the coach of India ‘A’, expressed his pride at being given the honour.
“It is a matter of great honour to be named by the ICC in the Cricket Hall of Fame. To find your name in a list of all-time greats across generations is something one only dreams of while setting out on a cricket career and the kind of recognition that would delight any player”, Dravid stated.
“I’m thankful to my near and dear ones as well as players I have played with and against, coaches and officials who have backed me over the years and helped me develop as a cricketer. I would also like to thank the KSCA (Karnataka State Cricket Association) and the BCCI for all the support over the years and the ICC for recognising my achievements and picking me in this group of Hall of Fame inductees,” the Indian batting stalwart added.
Both Ponting and Dravid have scored more than 10,000 runs in Tests as well as ODIs. Dravid, who retired from the game in 2012, notched up 13,288 runs in 164 Tests for India with the help of 36 centuries. In ODIs, he scored 10,889 runs in 344 matches with the help of 12 tons.
Famously known as ‘The Wall’ for his ability to whether down any bowling attack, Dravid was named as the ICC Cricketer of the Year as well as the Test Player of the Year in 2004. Bishan Singh Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble are the other Indians in the ICC Hall of Fame.
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.