Pakistani opener Fakhar Zaman smashed a mighty 91 runs to help Pakistan win over Australia by six wickets in the final of the Twenty 20 tri-series at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
Fakhar Zaman shared a hundred runs partnership with Shoaib Malik as Pakistan recovered from an early shake while chasing Australia´s 183 for 8. Shoaib Malik used his 18 years international cricket experience to help his team for victory with an unbeaten 43 runs.
Australia took control of the game in the opening bowling spell as Glenn Maxwell took wickets of debutant Sahibzada Farhan on the first ball he faced, and then Hussain Talat sliced a catch to point three balls later to derail Pakistan´s chase.
Australia looked promising for victory, but Fakhar Zaman immediately strengthen the innings. First, he added 45 runs with Captain Sarfraz Ahmed to take his team out of immediate danger, and he then added 107 for the fourth wicket partnership with Shoaib Malik to grasp the advantage for Pakistan.
When Fakhar Zaman fell cutting out to deep cover, Pakistan still needed 30 runs from 24 balls, but while Fakhar Malik remained at the crease their chase was always safe.
Their ultimate victory capped a mixed day for Pakistan. Australia captain Aaron Finch was given a first-ball reprieve when he was dropped by Malik in the deep after top-edging a hook, and several midfields allowed any pressure with the new ball to be immediately dissolute.
Their errors allowed Australia to get off to a flier, with Finch putting together a 95-run opening stand with D´Arcy Short. Short was also dropped just after he had reached a 39-ball fifty, but he could not better his previous T20I high score of 76 and Pakistan´s bowling at the death kept Australia in check.
From 95 for 0 after the first 10 overs, Australia lost 8 for 88 and their 183 for 8 was not quite enough to better Pakistan in the final analysis.
Twenty 20 Tri-Series Squads
Pakistan playing XI: Fakhar Zaman, Sahibzada Farhan, Hussain Talat, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain and wicket keeper), Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi
Australia playing XI: Aaron Finch (captain), Alex Carey (wicket keeper), Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Jack Wildermuth, Ashton Agar, Andrew Tye, Jhye Richardson, Billy Stanlake