Superb Zaman blasts Pakistan to tri-series final win over Australia

HARARE, (Reuters) – Opener Fakhar Zaman smashed a career-best 91 from 46 balls as Pakistan defeated Australia by six wickets in a record run chase to lift the tri-series trophy at the Harare Sports Club in Zimbabwe on Sunday.

Australia won the toss and elected to bat on a flat track in the final, posting 183 for eight in their 20 overs with the innings anchored by opener D’Arcy Short’s stylish 76 from 53 balls.

Pakistan were in trouble early on in their reply as they lost their first two wickets with just two runs on the scoreboard.

But Zaman launched a ferocious counter-attack with an innings that included 12 fours and three sixes, bringing up his half-century in 30 balls.

Pakistan, who top the global rankings in Twenty20 cricket, won the game with four balls to spare to secure victory in the final of the series that also involved hosts Zimbabwe.  It is Pakistan’s highest successful run chase in Twenty20 International cricket and their ninth successive series win in the shortest format of the game.

“It was a great team effort. Credit to the bowlers and then Fakhar Zaman and (Shoaib) Malik (43 not out) finished it for us,” Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said at the post-match presentation.

“There were some dropped catches in the field but we took the momentum in the second innings. Credit to the boys and management.”

Australia skipper Aaron Finch (47), who shared a run-a-ball opening stand of 95 with Short, felt his side should have posted closer to 200 on what was a good batting wicket.

“I thought we should have got around 200 and we just kept losing wickets, which stalled the momentum,” he said.

“Pakistan played well. I thought we started well with the ball but Fakhar Zaman played one hell of a knock. A 90-odd in a T20 game is hard to beat.”

Pakistan handed a debut to opener Sahibzada Farhan, who was out for a duck without facing a legal delivery.

Seamer Glenn Maxwell’s ball to him slid down the legside and was called a wide, but the batsman fell over in the crease and was stumped by wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

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