Pakistan beat Aussies to seal series win

HARARE - Pakistan consolidated their position as the number one ranked Twenty20 side in the world after a Fakhar Zaman master class ensured a record chase in their six-wicket victory over Australia in yesterday’s final.

Australia elected to bat after winning the toss with openers D’Arcy Short (76) and captain Aaron Finch (47) combining well on top of the order.

Travis Head added another 19 runs to help the Baggy Greens post a competitive 183/8.

Pakistan deadly seamer Mohammad Amir picked three wickets for 33 runs in four overs while Shadab Khan took two.

The score at face value looked like a winning target but on fire Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman (91) with his third half century in succession in this tournament swung the pendulum in his team’s favour.

He got support from the experienced Shoaib Malik (43) and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s 28 while Glenn Maxwell grabbed two wickets for 35 runs in three overs for Australia.

This was no fluke win for Pakistan, who have won 22 T20 matches in 26 they have played since 2016 and losing only four times.

The series victory in a tourney that also featured hapless hosts Zimbabwe is Pakistan’s ninth successive T20 series win.

Zaman was eventually named man-of-the-series and was pretty pleased with his performance.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

His captain Ahmed 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. The way Fakhar is batting and the whole tournament he and Malik batting well. Credit to the boys and management.”

Australia captain Aaron Finch 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.”

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