Australia won the toss and decided to bowl
Pakistan 116/10 (19.5)
Australia 117/1 (10.5)
Australia won by 9 wickets
116/10 (19.5 Ov)
117/1 (10.5 Ov)
An Australia-Pakistan cricket tie, ever since their first meeting way back in 1956 in a Test match played on a mat at National Stadium, Karachi, in the days of sea voyage, remains an eagerly-awaited contest. A t20 contest had a similar build up but did not live up to the expectation as Australia thrashed Pakistan by 9 wickets, to get off to a near perfect start to their campaign in Zimbabwe. A below par target of 117, achieved by Australia in 10.5 overs, signalled an end to a one-sided match, with their captain Aaron Finch, smashing an unbeaten 68 off mere 33 balls with 4 fours and six sixes. Talk about leading from example!
The shortest format, often so heavily loaded in favour of the willow, once in a blue moon, witnesses quality bowling pushing the batsmen on the back foot. Today was one such day at Harare Sports Club. Aaron Finch after inserting Pakistan in, picked up three slip catches, all off Billy Stanlake, who tore through the opposition with a dream of a spell. His figures of 4-8 off 4 overs with 18 dot balls, will not be bettered that easily, even by the tall paceman himself, taking advantage of the bounce available, whilst operating from the City End at Harare Sports Club. He was an obvious choice for the Player of the Match award.
Australians, with two slips, looked their usual aggressive self, right at the outset and wasted little time in imposing themselves. Mohammad Hafeez, was out for a third-ball duck, to his trademark poke outside the off stump, and by the end of 5th over, Pakistan had slipped to 19-3. Despite some cameos from the lower order featuring Asif Ali, Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf, Pakistan could only total 116, all out in 19.5 overs.
Shoaib Malik, on the day he became the first player to reach 100 t20 international matches, having yesterday become only the third to reach 2000 runs in this format, is an enigma, as far as Pakistan cricket fans are concerned. Someone with so much all-round talent and natural fitness, he often is just not good enough, to be assured of a permanent slot in Pakistan middle order. Nine out of ten times, he meekly surrenders against big sides. It was quite frustrating to see him throw away his wicket in a shambolic run-out with Asif Ali. It was also a surprise that he did not make a ‘real’ effort to drag his bat and was seen to have given up, a bit prematurely. Bit strange for an experienced campaigner.
Australian cricket has been in a real turmoil, following the ball-tampering row in South Africa, earlier in the year. Suspensions for Steve Smith and David Warner on top of injuries to a number of fast bowlers, is not an ideal start for their incoming head coach, Justin Langer. We saw them completely outclassed by England in both formats of white ball cricket, in the last few weeks. By beating Pakistan so convincingly today, they have shown their resolve to bounce back and get back to the winning streak.
© Cricket World