Fakhar Zaman’s career-best 91 spurred Pakistan to victory over Australia in the finals of the T20I tri-series in Harare on Sunday. This is also Pakistan’s first win over Australia in a tournament final after 28 years, with their last win coming way back in 1990. Chasing a stiff target of 184 on a surface which offered true-bounce, Pakistan got off to a horrible start losing two wickets in the first over. However, Zaman along with skipper Sarfraz Ahmed led the recovery and later forged a century-stand with Shoaib Malik to put Pakistan in cruise control. Malik remained unbeaten on 43 as Pakistan cantered home with four balls to spare.
Earlier, Australia won the toss and opt to bat first. The decision seemed a fruitful one as they got off to a flier and openers Aaron Finch and D Arcy Short forged a 95-run opening stand. However, Short’s departure led to Australia’s loss of wickets at regular intervals. From 146/3 they succumbed to 176/7 ultimately falling short 20 runs less of what they would have liked.
Chasing 184, Pakistan suffered a horrendous start losing two wickets in the first over. But Sarfraz Ahmed and Zaman came together and launched a counter-attack to bring Pakistan back into the match. An untimely run out led to the dismissal of the Pakistan captain. But the Zaman continued his assault on the Australian bowlers as runs came at ease. Giving him able support from the other end was the experienced Shoaib Malik. Their 100-run partnership put Pakistan on course for a victory. While Zaman was finally dismissed for a well-made 91, Malik remained unbeaten on 43 to guide his team over the finishing line.
For his fantastic knock in yet another final, Zaman was awarded the man of the match. His tally of 278 runs in the series also saw him being adjudged as the man of the series. Incidentally, Zaman didn’t fire in one game, and that was the only match Pakistan lost in this series.