Australia eased to a 2-0 triumph over Pakistan in their three-match Twenty20 International series, winning the final T20I in Perth by 10 wickets.
David Warner (48* off 35) and Aaron Finch (52* off 26) saw through the chase, but the victory was set up by the bowlers. After putting Pakistan in, the Australian pacemen ensured only two visiting players got to double digits.
They were restricted to 106/8, with Kane Richardson taking 3/18, and had it not been for Iftikhar Ahmed’s 37-ball 45, Pakistan wouldn’t even have managed that. The target was of no threat to Australia, given the form their openers are in. Warner and Finch closed down the chase in just 11.5 overs to complete their fifth win in six T20Is – the first T20I of the series was washed out.
Pakistan made a cautious start with the bat, with Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam waiting for the poor deliveries. The caution cost them, though, with Azam – Pakistan’s captain and their best batsman this series – trapped in front by Mitchell Starc. Azam reviewed, only to see the screen flash umpire’s call. That’s where the implosion started.
Mohammad Rizwan was dismissed off the very next ball, Starc sending in a typically quick inswinger that cleaned him up. Sean Abbott was then brought on, and he had Imam, on a 15-ball 14 at the time, caught at mid-wicket. Pakistan were 22/3.
It was then that Iftikhar closed down one end with a counter-attacking knock, but wickets continued at the other. Haris Sohail holed out off Ashton Agar – the only wicket to fall to spin on the day – and Richardson then ran through the middle order with the scalps of Khushdil Shah (8), Shadab Khan (1) and eventually, Iftikhar.
Iftikhar had batted valiantly to score a 45, finding the fence six times, but the Australians discovered he had a problem with the short deliveries, and he was caught attempting to hook one over fine leg.
Perhaps early wickets could have given Pakistan a foothold in the match, but the Australian openers ensured they were never in with a chance. Warner and Finch hit 13 boundaries between them, five of them sixes, as they chopped down Pakistan’s paltry total. The chase was over in no time.
Abbott was named Player of the Match for his 2/14 that began the Pakistan collapse.
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