Rampant Pakistan overpower clueless Australia in 3rd T20I
It was a case of game, set and match to Pakistan as they beat Australia with great comfort in Dubai, to claim a clean sweep in the three-match T20I series.
Pakistan 150 - 5
Result - Pakistan won by 33 runs
The 33-run margin is massive in the T20 format and it showed the gulf between the two sides, in these conditions. Australia, desperate to salvage some pride with a consolation win, chased a total of 150 with desperation and recklessness, allied with school cricket. Pakistan’s bowling and fielding, asked to deliver in three night matches in five days did so brilliantly, to say the least. Its upcoming three-match T20 series against New Zealand, again in UAE, should be a cracker of a contest.
Tonight, for a brief moment the never-say-die Australian spirit came to the fore. With a target of 151, left-handed Alex Carey was promoted and he took 20 (4,6,6,4) off Imad Wasim’s opening over, to set the tone but his dismissal along with that of skipper Aaron Finch, put Australia on the back foot. With the score at 60-2 off 7 overs, Australia seemed on track before Pakistan hit back with three wickets in no time. Glenn Maxwell out for 4 to Shadab Khan, was the fifth wicket to fall on 75 in the 11th over. When the required run-rate went above 9 runs an over, Mitchell Marsh(21 off 24 balls) held the key for his team but he too was dismissed by the leg-spinner, providing Shoaib Malik with one of his three catches in the deep. Shadab with 3-19 off his 4 overs plus a run out to his name, was picked as Man of the Match.
The re-shuffling of the batting, left the opening batsman, D’Arcy Short to come in at No.7 but Australia could not be faulted for trying and thinking ‘out of the box’. Three wickets in six deliveries shattered Australian hopes as the Pakistani pacemen Usman Khan and Hasan Ali, with two wickets apiece, played their part in dismissing the opposition for 122 in 19.1 overs. Amazing to learn that it was the 30th time Pakistan had bowled out a side in T20I’s.
The Pakistan team that had successfully defended totals of 155 and 147 in the first two matches, is bound to be playing good quality of cricket. With its bowlers and fielders excelling, they are certainly tough opponents to take on in the shortest format. Now with a highly impressive ten T20I series wins, since September 2016, all under Sarfraz Ahmed, it aimed to make a clean sweep of its three-match series in UAE. It is a pity that the two devastating openers: Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, were lost in spot fixing saga in 2017, for the pair would have added more spine to the Pakistan’s batting in T20I. A real shame for both represented Karachi, no longer the leading nursery of Pakistan cricket.
With the series already in the bag, Pakistan made two changes, replacing Fakhar Zaman with Sahibzada Farhan and Shaheen Afridi with Usman Khan – all four from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, illustrating how hungry and determined Pathans are in capitalizing the opportunities, they were perhaps denied in the past. Opting to bat first, Pakistan made a flying start with Babar Azam and Farhan posting 45 runs in the first 5 overs, with both having cleared the boundary once. The 22-year old Charsada-born right-hand batsman, playing in his second T20I, was in no mood to hold back his aggression. By the 10th over, the pair had taken Pakistan to 74-0, with Australian slow bowlers, creating doubts in the batsmen’s mind and not allowing free scoring.
Batting first for the third time in a row in the series, Pakistan needed to post a minimum total of 175, to show its batting strength. Farhan mistimed to long-off, after his 39 off 38 balls and Babar was out, two balls later bowled for 50 to leave Pakistan 97 for 2 off 13.1 overs. Australian bowlers maintained good control and despite Mohammad Hafeez’s unbeaten 32 off 20 balls, Pakistan managed 150-5 in 20 overs, a below par score at this level of the game. It was once again looking to its bowlers, to win the match. Disappoint, they did not.
Pakistan - Babar Azam, Sahibzada Farhan, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Usman Shinwari
Australia - D'Arcy Short, Aaron Finch(c), Chris Lynn, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey(wk), Ben McDermott, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Nathan Lyon, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa
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