Pakistan strike back

HARARE - The number one ranked Twenty20 side Pakistan cruised to a 45-run victory over high-flying Australia to set up a mouth-watering final scheduled at the same venue on Sunday.

The two sides have beaten each other once in this triangular series and both having had an easy go over hosts Zimbabwe who anchor the bottom with no wins and a negative run rate of -3.051

Australia captain Aaron Finch opted to field after winning the toss prompting in-form Pakistan batsman Fakhar Zaman to continue with his debilitating display with the bat.

Zaman scored a man-of-the-match cameo 73 runs from 49 balls up the order.

Asaf Ali was unbeaten on 37 runs from 18 balls while Hussain Tallat and Shoaib Malik added 30 and 27 respectively as Pakistan raced to a competitive total of 194/7 in 20 overs.

Australian seamer Andrew Tye was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets for 35 runs in four overs while 21-year-old quick Jhye Richardson took two wickets.

With Finch nicking a perfect delivery from left-arm seamer Shaheen Afridi to wicketkeeper and captain Safraz Ahmed in the fifth over for 16 runs, Pakistan started believing that the day certainly belonged to them.

Finch was just coming from a historic 172 against Zimbabwe, his T20 best after scoring a 68 against Pakistan earlier in the series.

Wickets then tumbled in quick succession for Australia as they lost Travis Head (7), Glen Maxwell (10) and Nic Maddinson (5) inside the opening 10 overs to leave their side reeling on 75/5.

Vice-captain Alex Carey with an unbeaten 24-ball 37 was Australia’s top scorer while opener D’Arcy contributed 28 runs.

Afridi finished with three wickets for 37 runs in four overs for Pakistan with the other four bowlers Mohammad Amir, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Usman Khan grabbing a wicket apiece.

Finch admitted his team rarely got any of the three facets right yesterday.

“We didn’t get going all day, long way off with the ball and on the field, couldn’t then get any partnerships with the bat,” Finch said.

“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 would like to keep winning, couldn’t but have a short turnaround time.”

Winning captain Ahmed gave credit to Zaman for his heroics with the bat.

“He was superb. Today’s surface wasn’t the easiest. Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik did a 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.”

Pakistan toppled Australia on top of the table. They now have 12 points from four matches, Australia are on eight and play their last match against Zimbabwe this morning and enjoy a superior run rate of 2.421 against Pakistan.

Match Summary

Pakistan 194/7 (20 ov)- Fakhar Zaman 73 (42), Asif Ali 37* (18), Hussain Talat 30 (25)

Bowling: Andrew Tye 3-34 (4), Jhye Richardson 2-43 (2)

Australia 149/7 (20 ov) - Alex Carey 37* (24), D’Arcy Short 28 (34), Aaron Finch 16 (11)

Bowling: Shaheen Afridi 3-37 (4)

Pakistan won by 45 runs

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