Zaman fires Pakistan past Australia in Tri-Series final

By Sports Desk July 08, 2018

Fakhar Zaman's swashbuckling 91 enabled Pakistan to record their highest successful Twenty20 international run chase on Sunday, as they defeated Australia by six wickets in the final of the Tri-Series in Harare.

The two sides having reached the decider ahead of hosts Zimbabwe, Pakistan fought back from a slow start with the ball to restrict an initially rampant Australia to the nevertheless daunting total of 183-8 at Harare Sports Club.

Their run chase got off to a bad - and unusual - start when Twenty20 international debutant Sahibzada Farhan was out for a duck, stumped off a wide Glenn Maxwell delivery after coming out of his crease and falling over. 

Zaman made up for the careless actions of his inexperienced partner by clubbing his way to 91 from 46 deliveries, finding the boundary ropes 12 times and going over them for three sixes.

He failed to complete a deserved century when he was eventually caught at deep backward point by substitute fielder Nic Maddinson off a shorter Jhye Richardson (1-29) ball.

Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed had already been run out after weighing in with 28, but Shoaib Malik (43 not out) helped Pakistan towards the finish line, gaining revenge on behalf of Zaman by dispatching Richardson for six over the mid-wicket boundary to ease the pressure that had suddenly been mounting after the key man's departure. 

And Asif Ali (17 not out) followed suit with a maximum of his own straight down the ground off the last ball of Richardson's over, Mickey Arthur's team getting the job done two overs later.

Earlier, D'Arcy Short and Aaron Finch had taken Pakistan's bowlers to task in Australia's innings, putting on 95 for the first wicket.

Their impressive opening stand was broken when skipper Finch was out for 47, missing out on a half-century when he was caught by Farhan after an unconvincing attempt to play a Shadab Khan (2-38) delivery that pitched outside off and moved away.

Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis could only make five and 12 before falling to Khan and Mohammad Amir (3-33) respectively.

Short did notch his 50, eventually departing for 76 with Farhan again taking the catch, this time at cover off a length delivery from Shaheen Shah Afridi (1-32).

Travis Head's cameo of 19 from 11 balls came in handy, but none of the last five players to arrive at the crease reached double figures, Amir clean bowling Andrew Tye for a duck to bring the innings to a close.

And Pakistan's momentum proved too much for Australia to resist, Arthur's team improving on their previous highest successful run chase, when they reached a target of 176 against Bangladesh in Pallekele in September 2012.

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