Billy Stanlake's fiery spell and other takeaways as Australia thump Pakistan by nine wickets in T20 tri-series

Waseem Ahmed 15:09 02/07/2018
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Australia have closed the gap to Pakistan.

Pakistan‘s run of eight consecutive wins came to an unceremonious end while Australia recorded the first win of Justin Langer’s era in the second clash of the T20I tri-series at Harare on Monday.

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.

Stanlake's bounce was too hot to handle for Pakistan.

Stanlake’s bounce was too hot to handle for Pakistan.

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.

Malik's run-out was a pivotal moment in the game.

Malik’s run-out was a pivotal moment in the game.

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.

Finch was back at his fluent best in an innings containing six sixes.

Finch was back at his fluent best in an innings containing six sixes.

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