Harare — Pakistan’s opener Fakhar Zaman blazed his way to a career-best 73 as his side completed a 45-run victory over Australia on Thursday in the T20 tri-series in Zimbabwe.
Pakistan batted first, with Zaman’s knock helping his side race to 194/7. Then left-arm seamer Shaheen Afridi starred with three wickets as Pakistan’s bowlers held Australia to 149/7 in a match effectively a dress rehearsal for Sunday’s final.
Pakistan lost Haris Sohail for a golden duck after being put in to bat on a chilly midwinter morning in Harare, but Zaman and Hussain Talat wrested back control back with a rapid 72-run stand. Talat cracked three fours and a six before playing one shot too many to be bowled by Glenn Maxwell’s offspin.
Zaman continued to middle his aggressive strokes and went to a 33-ball 50, his third for Pakistan in this format, with a slog sweep for six, while another big hit off Andrew Tye’s seamers took the batsman past his previous best of 61.
An edged four took Pakistan beyond 130, and Zaman into the 70s, in the 15th over.
Pakistan kept up the pressure with the ball, with Afridi taking the vital early wicket of Aaron Finch when the Australian captain had made just 16.
Bowling from the golf course end, Afridi swung and seamed the ball prodigiously to trouble the batsmen. He trapped Glenn Maxwell lbw, and then rattled D’Arcy Short’s stumps as Australia slipped to 75 for 5.
Their chase never recovered from the early losses, with the rest of Pakistan’s attack chipping in with wickets in a much-improved performance.