Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman walloped a career-best 91 as his side downed Australia by six wickets to not only complete their highest-successful run chase in Twenty20 Internationals, but also win the T20 tri-series in Harare.
Choosing to bat first, Australia got off to a superb start as D’Arcy Short and captain Aaron Finch amassed a 95-run partnership before Finch was caught by debutant Sahibzada Farhan at cover off the bowling of Shadab Khan for 47, which came off 27 balls and included two boundaries and three sixes.
Glenn Maxwell fell shortly after, while Short and Marcus Stoinis added 36 runs to the score before Stoinis was dismissed by Mohammad Amir for 12.
Short went on to score a career-best 76, which came off 53 deliveries and included seven boundaries and four sixes, before he was caught by Farhan at cover off the bowling of Shaheen Afridi.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
While Australia lost wickets in a hurry after Short’s dismissal, Travis Head scored an 11-ball 19 to help his side finish on 183/8.
Amir was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Shadab took two, and Afridi, Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 184 to win, Pakistan made a horrible start as Farhan was stumped by Alex Carey off the bowling of Maxwell for a duck.
Hussain Talat was on his way back to the pavilion three balls later as he was caught by Jhye Richardson at backward point off the bowling of Maxwell for a duck.
Zaman and Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed stabilised the innings with a 45-run partnership before Sarfraz was run out by Richardson for 28.
Zaman and Shoaib Malik kept the runs flowing with a 107-run stand before Zaman was removed by Richardson for 91, which came off 46 balls and included 12 boundaries and three sixes.
Malik and Asif Ali finished things off as Pakistan reached their target with four balls to spare.
Malik concluded the match on 43 off 37 balls, which included three boundaries and a six, while Asif remained undefeated on 17 off 11 deliveries, which included a boundary and a six.
Maxwell was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Richardson claimed one.
Finch was gutted to have lost in the final, and said: “I thought we should have got around 200 and we just kept losing the wickets, which stalled the momentum. Pakistan played well. Yeah, I thought we started well with the ball. Fakhar Zaman played one hell of a knock. A 90-odd in a T20 game is hard to beat.”
Sarfraz was thrilled to have won the tournament, and said: “It’s a great team effort. Credit to the bowlers. Then Fakhar Zaman and Malik finished it for us. There were some dropped catches but we took the momentum in the second innings. Credit to the boys and management.”
Zaman was named Man of the Match and Man of the Series, and said: “I like these pitches. From the first game, I was in form. I have played here in 2016, the wickets were not that good then. Hard work in nets is the main thing. I take time at the start and play my natural game. After we lost two wickets, I told Safi I will play my natural game. Australia played well. Congratulations to my team.”