There was more T20 success for Pakistan when they beat Australia in a thrilling Tri-Series final in Harare on Sunday.
Set a target of 184 following D’Arcy Short’s 76, Pakistan had it all to do especially when they lost two batsmen in the first two overs.
But, Sarfraz Ahmed’s side showed why they are the world’s best outfit in this format when they sealed their highest successful chase to win the game by six wickets and four balls to spare. It was Pakistan’s ninth consecutive T20 series victory.
Here are the takeaways from the game in Zimbabwe.
Short and Finch nearly make Pakistan pay with dropped catches
Having amassed scores of 68 and 172 in the first two games of the Tri-Series, Finch suffered a dip in form going into the match having scored 16 and 3. It could have been another brief stay at the crease for the opener had he not been dropped by Shoaib Malik on his first delivery.
But instead, the 31-year-old gradually found his feet before later hitting a boundary and a six in two consecutive deliveries off Shaheen Afridi. He gave Shadab Khan the same treatment with two more maximums before the teenage leg-spinner got his man for 47.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s men only had themselves to blame as to why Short reached 76.
He brought up his half-century with a maximum and ultimately, Shadab’s drop at backward point didn’t prove too costly in the end.
Shadab Khan’s brilliant catch
After dropping Short earlier on in the game, Shadab made up for his error in some style when he took one of the best catches in international cricket. Alex Carey struck the ball as cleanly as he could and looked certain to score a boundary but he and the rest of the cricketing world were scratching their heads and left in awe when Shadab pulled off a fantastic low one-handed catch.
Fakhar Zaman frustrates Australia as Pakistan show why they’re No.1
With Pakistan you just never know what type of performance you will see from them. After Sahibzada Farhan and Hussain Talat were removed by Glenn Maxwell inside the first two overs, Mickey Arthur’s side were staring at a defeat. But you can never write them off and Sunday’s game was another example.
Just three days after hitting 73 against the Australians, Fakhar Zaman was at it again as he went even bigger to register his highest T20I score of 91. The 28-year-old saw both his partners Farhan and Talat dismissed but he remained composed and built a partnership with Sarfraz and then Shoaib Malik which gave him the chance to accelerate his innings.
With Pakistan needing 89 from 54, Zaman raised his game, smashing 14 runs in three balls as well as back-to-back boundaries off Stonis. He was unable to reach the triple figures but Malik’s 43no and Asif Ali’s 11no ensured his efforts did not go to waste and proved once again why they are top of the world rankings.
Pakistan are the No1 ranked T20 team in the world and they fully justified that ranking today after they slumped to 2 for 2 in the first over of their innings but turned it around to chase down Australia’s challenging target of 184 with four balls remaining for the loss of just two further wickets.
Chief architect was Zaman who clobbered 12 fours and three sixes at a run rate of 197.82. He was ably supported by captain Sarfraz Ahmed with 28 off 19 (4 fours, 1 six) and Shoab Malik 43 off 37 (3 fours, 1 six).
Earlier Australia compiled 183 for 8 with top scorer Darcy Short who finally shrugged off his batting woes with 76 off 53 including four towering sixes. Captain Aaron Finch added 47 off just 27 balls (2 fours, 3 sixes).
The full scorecard is below.
The sides had already met twice during the tournament with Australia triumphing by nine wickets in the first match after rolling Pakistan for just 116 while Pakistan hit back in the second with a comprehensive victory by 45 runs.
Earlier Australia won the toss and decided to bat on a chilly and cloudy day in Harare.
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk), Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Jack Wildermuth, Ashton Agar, Andrew Tye, Jhye Richardson, Billy Stanlake
Pakistan XI: Fakhar Zaman, Sahibzada Farhan, Hussain Talat, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c/wk), Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi
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