HARARE: Fakhar Zaman single-handedly took Pakistan to an emphatic win in the final of the tri-series against Australia where he scored 91 runs off 46 deliveries to chase down 184-run target.
The Men in Green had a disastrous run where they lost the debutante Sahibzada Farhan and Hussain Talat in the first over of the inning.
At that moment, Sarfraz Ahmed played a handly 28-run knock before getting run-out that gave Pakistan some momentum.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s champions trophy final hero, Fakhar Zaman was in a ruthless mood and he punished every Australian bowler.
The man in form, Shoaib Malik played the supporting role with Fakhar and steered Pakistan to the win.
The Zaman-Malik duo contributed 107 runs together that proved to be game changing for Pakistan.
Shoaib Malik remained not-out on 43 runs off 37 deliveries, while Asif Ali scored 17 runs off 11 balls.
Earlier, Australia won the toss and elected to bat first.
Opener D’Arcy Short made the most of a recall to Australia’s playing XI with a 53-ball 76 against Pakistan in the Twenty20 tri-series final at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
Australia captain Aaron Finch chipped in with 47, but Pakistan broke through repeatedly in the latter stages of the innings to keep Australia to 183 for 8.
Pakistan held their own at the death to keep Australia to under 200, but had made a scrappy start in the field.
Finch was given a first-ball reprieve when he was dropped by Shoaib Malik in the deep after top-edging a hook, and several misfields allowed any pressure with the new ball to be immediately dissipated.
Finch punished Pakistan for their errors by cracking two fours and three sixes during the course of a 95-run opening stand.
Short was also dropped just after he had reached a 39-ball fifty, but could not better his previous T20I high score of 76, driving a length delivery from teenage seamer Shaheen Afridi straight to debutant Sahibzada Farhan in the covers.
Between their blunders, Pakistan also offered enough glimpses of brilliance in the field to prevent Australia running away with the game.
Having dropped Short previously, Shadab Khan pulled off a one-handed stunner at mid off to get rid of Alex Carey, and Pakistan finally found their mojo to run through Australia’s lower middle order.
Mohammad Amir took two wickets in the final over to finish with figures of 3 for 33, the pick of Pakistan’s attack as Australia slipped from 146 for 2 in the 16th over, losing 6 for 31 before a last ball edge off Jhye Richardson’s bat took them beyond 180.
– Hard work in the net is key –
Fakhar Zaman, the man of the match and the man of the series, told that the wickets were better than he first played here in 2016 for Pakistan A, but the main thing is hard work in nets.
“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,” Fakhar Zaman said.
On the other hand, Sarfraz Ahmed had all praise for Fakhar Zaman and Shoaib Malik, who were the key for Pakistan in the tri-nation series.
“It’s a great team effort. Credit to the bowlers” he said. “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,” he added.