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Pakistan outgun Australia in dress rehearsal for final

July 06, 2018

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HARARE: Australian batsman Travis Head is cleaned up by Pakistan pacer Faheem Ashraf during the tri-series T20 International at the Harare Sports Club on Thursday.—AP
HARARE: Australian batsman Travis Head is cleaned up by Pakistan pacer Faheem Ashraf during the tri-series T20 International at the Harare Sports Club on Thursday.—AP

HARARE: Opener Fakhar Zaman blazed his way to a career-best 73 while young paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi grabbed three top-order wickets as Pakistan completed a resounding 45-run win over Australia on Thursday in the Twenty20 International tri-series.

Fakhar’s knock helped his side race to 194-7 after being put into bat at the Harare Sports Club before the 18-year-old left-arm seamer Shaheen starred with the ball as Pakistan’s bowlers held Australia — who defeated Pakistan by nine wickets on Monday — to 149-7 in a match which was effectively a dress rehearsal for Sunday’s final.

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed expressed his satisfaction at team’s splendid turnaround after being drubbed by the Aussies in the first round-robin game.

“Shaheen has been part of the last two, three series, so we wanted to give him an opportunity. Glad he did well,” Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said. “Fakhar, too, he was superb. Today’s surface wasn’t the easiest to bat in tough conditions.”

Australian seamer Andrew Tye admitted his disappointment after the loss.

“We were just well off the mark today in all aspects,” said Tye. “With the bat, the ball and in the field we were a bit sloppy. We definitely expect more from ourselves.”

Pakistan had lost Haris Sohail for a golden duck after being put in to bat on a chilly midwinter morning in Harare, but Fakhar and fellow left-hander Hussain Talat wrested back control back with a rapid 72-run stand.

Hussain cracked three fours and a six before playing one shot too many to be bowled by Glenn Maxwell’s off-spin.

Fakhar continued to middle his aggressive strokes and went to a 33-ball 50, his third for Pakistan in this format and second in this tournament, with a slog sweep for six, while another big hit off Tye’s seamers took the batsman past his previous best of 61.

An edged boundary took Pakistan beyond 130, and Fakhar into the 70s, in the 15th over, but he pulled the next ball he faced straight to Maxwell on the edge of the circle at midwicket.

The quick dismissal of captain Sarfraz Ahmed, edging a Tye leg-cutter into the hands of wicket-keeper Alex Carey, put a further dent in Pakistan’s batting, but the experienced Shoaib Malik ensured that the runs kept flowing.

He hit 15 off the 17th over, bowled by Marcus Stoinis, boosting Pakistan beyond 150. After he fell, Asif Ali struck three fours and two sixes in an unbeaten 37 to keep the pressure on Australia right to the end of the innings.

“We didn’t execute our plans very well,” said Tye. “We probably set our fields a bit wrong at times as well. They knew what we were going to come out and do and they attacked us pretty hard at the start. Once Pakistan got away, we found it hard to bring it back.”

Pakistan kept up the pressure with the ball, with Shaheen taking the vital early wicket of the in-form Aaron Finch when the Australian captain had made just 16.

Bowling from the Golf Course End, Shaheen swung and seamed the ball prodigiously to trouble the batsmen. He trapped Maxwell lbw, and then rattled D’Arcy Short’s stumps as Australia slipped to 75-5.

“Since yesterday I’ve been planning on getting [Finch and Maxwell’s] wickets, and trying to work out how to get them early,” Shaheen said after his second international match for Pakistan. “I think [Australia’s bowlers] didn’t take advantage of the pitch upfront. The ball was seaming around a lot, and that’s why we pitched it up when we bowled.”

Australia’s chase never recovered from the early losses, with the rest of Pakistan’s attack chipping in with wickets in a much-improved performance.

The two teams will meet again in Sunday’s final after Australia face hosts Zimbabwe in Friday’s last league-round fixture, and Shaheen lined up Finch as a key wicket in that game.

“Finch is their main batsman and he’s playing really well, so I’ll focus particularly on trying to get him early on Sunday,” he said.

Finch, who scored a world-record 172 against Zimbabwe and a rapid half-century against Pakistan in the first game, expressed his disappointment at the outcome of this match. “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.”

Scoreboard

PAKISTAN:

Fakhar Zaman c Maxwell b Stoinis 73
Haris Sohail c Short b Richardson 0
Hussain Talat b Maxwell 30
Sarfraz Ahmed c Carey b Tye 14
Shoaib Malik c Finch b Tye 27
Asif Ali not out 37
Faheem Ashraf c Maxwell b Richardson 0
Shadab Khan c Stoinis b Tye 7
Mohammad Amir not out 0
EXTRAS (W-6) 6
TOTAL (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 194
FALL OF WKTS: 1-8, 2-80, 3-107, 4-132, 5-158, 6-176, 7-190. DID NOT BAT: Usman Khan Shinwari, Shaheen Shah Afridi.
BOWLING: Stanlake 4-0-30-0; Richardson 4-0-43-2 (3w); Tye 4-0-35-3 (1w); Stoinis 3-0-29-1 (1w); Maxwell 3-0-30-1; Agar 2-0-27-0.

AUSTRALIA:

D.J.M. Short b Shaheen 28
A.J. Finch c Sarfraz b Shaheen 16
T.M. Head b Faheem 7
G.J. Maxwell lbw b Shaheen 10
N.J. Maddinson st Sarfraz b Shadab 5
M.P. Stoinis c Asif b Usman 16
A.T. Carey not out 37
A.C. Agar b Amir 11
A.J. Tye not out 12
EXTRAS (LB-5, W-2) 7
TOTAL (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 149
FALL OF WKTS: 1-29, 2-38, 3-49, 4-67, 5-75, 6-106, 7-131. DID NOT BAT: J.A. Richardson, B. Stanlake.
BOWLING: Mohammad Amir 4-0-25-1; Faheem Ashraf 4-0-30-1; Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-0-37-3 (1w); Shadab Khan 4-0-26-1; Usman Khan Shinwari 4-0-26-1 (1w). RESULT: Pakistan won by 45 runs. UMPIRES: R.B. Tiffin (Zimbabwe) and L. Rusere (Zimbabwe). TV UMPIRE: T.J. Matibiri (Zimbabwe). MATCH REFEREE: J.J. Crowe (New Zealand). MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Fakhar Zaman.

Published in Dawn, July 06th, 2018