Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman struck a career-best 73 to lead his side to a comfortable 45-run win over Australia in Harare.
Opting to bowl first, Australia got an early breakthrough as Pakistan opener Haris Sohail was caught by D’Arcy Short at square leg off the bowling of Jhye Richardson for a golden duck.
Zaman and Hussain Talat made up for the loss of Sohail with a 72-run partnership before Talat was clean bowled by Glenn Maxwell for 30.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed only made 14 before he was caught behind off the bowling of Andrew Tye.
Zaman went on to score 73 off 42 balls, which included nine boundaries and three sixes, before he was caught by Maxwell at midwicket off the bowling of Marcus Stoinis.
Once Zaman was gone, Pakistan began to lose wickets at regular intervals.
However, Asif Ali gave Pakistan a major boost towards the end of their innings as he hammered an unbeaten 37 off 18 balls to help his side finish on 194/7.
Tye was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Richardson snapped up two, and Maxwell and Stoinis chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 195 to win, Australia lost captain Aaron Finch early on as he was caught behind off the bowling of Shaheen Afridi for 16.
Faheem Ashraf removed Travis Head for seven runs before Afridi took out Maxwell for 10.
Nic Maddinson failed to stem the flow of wickets, while Short, who opened the batting, made a 34-ball 28 before he became Afridi’s third victim.
Even though wicketkeeper Alex Carey provided some fireworks, striking an unbeaten 37 off 24 deliveries, it was not enough to get Australia across the finish line.
Afridi was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Shadab Khan and Usman Khan claimed one wicket each.
Finch was gutted to have lost, and said: “We didn’t get going all day, long way off with the ball and on the field, then couldn’t get any partnerships with the bat. This was a 170 wicket, we let them get away, our fielding was sloppy as well. They stuck to basic plans and did well. You’d like to keep winning, we couldn’t but have a short turnaround time.”
Sarfraz was delighted to have won, and said: “Credit to Fakhar. He was superb. Today’s surface wasn’t the easiest. Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik did a [good] job for us too. Afridi has been part of the last two-three series, so we wanted to give him an opportunity. Glad he did well.”
Zaman was named Man of the Match.