Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman produced a scintillating performance with the bat as his blistering 91 helped his side clinch the T20 tri-series trophy at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
By SportBrief Reporter
Pakistan beat Australia by six wickets in the final of tri-series to win the tournament trophy at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
The win was Pakistan’s ninth consecutive T20 series win to further underline the side’s position as the number one ranked T20 team in the world. This also marked their first win in a tournament final over Australia after 28 years.
Australia, having been put to bat first were in trouble early as the Pakistani pace bowlers gave the men from down under a torrid time.
But Australia scratched and clawed their way to 29 off the first four overs before finally turning it on to finish with 54 in the powerplay. The duo rode on luck as well to fetch some streaky boundaries with Short in particular constantly beating the short third-man.
Shadab Khan finally made the vital breakthrough as opener Aaron Finch perished while trying to hit a short delivery over cover. Having already conceded a couple of sixes to the Australian skipper, the legspinner fought back at the right time as Maxwell became his second victim soon after Finch’s departure. By this time, the onus was on the half-centurion Short to carry the momentum forward and he duly obliged by hammering Hasan Ali for a couple of sixes to round off the 15th over.
With Stoinis pulling Amir for another six to begin the 16th over, the signs were ominous for Pakistan. But they staged another comeback in the innings as both Stoinis and Short were dismissed in the span of five deliveries. Travis Head threatened briefly with a flurry of boundaries but wickets kept tumbling at the other end including three off the last seven deliveries that helped Pakistan concede at least 10-15 runs lesser than originally anticipated to restrict them to 183/8.
In response, Pakistan got off to a shaky start as Zaman saw debutant Sahibzada Farhan and Hussain Talat depart in the opening over to the part-time offspin of Glenn Maxwell. Sarfraz Khan, seemed to take a liking to Maxwell as he obliterated the bowler in the third over that fetched 21 runs, but his run out just before the end of the powerplay put Pakistan on the backfoot again.
Zaman though, remained unfazed as he kept the scoreboard ticking with some fine batting and was later joined by Shoaib Malik (43) who proved a great partner. Zaman would eventually fall but by then Pakistan was in firm control, eventually reaching the total with four balls to spare to clinch the Tri-Series title.