Opener D’Arcy Short yesterday made the most of a recall to Australia’s playing XI with a 53-ball 76 against Pakistan in the Twenty20 tri-series final at Harare Sports Club.
Australia captain Aaron Finch chipped in with 47, but Pakistan broke through repeatedly in the latter stages of the innings to keep Australia to 183 for 8.
Pakistan held their own at the death to keep Australia to under 200, but had made a scrappy start in the field.
Finch was given a first-ball reprieve when he was dropped by Shoaib Malik in the deep after top-edging a hook, and several misfields allowed any pressure with the new ball to be immediately dissipated.
Finch punished Pakistan for their errors by cracking two fours and three sixes during the course of a 95-run opening stand.
Short was also dropped just after he had reached a 39-ball fifty, but could not better his previous Twenty20 high score of 76, driving a length delivery from teenage seamer Shaheen Afridi straight to debutant Sahibzada Farhan in the covers.
Between their blunders, Pakistan also offered enough glimpses of brilliance in the field to prevent Australia from running away with the game.
Having dropped Short previously, Shadab Khan pulled off a one-handed stunner at mid-off to get rid of Alex Carey, and Pakistan finally found their mojo to run through Australia’s lower middle order.
Mohammad Amir took two wickets in the final over to finish with figures of 3 for 33, the pick of Pakistan’s attack as Australia slipped from 146 for 2 in the 16th over, losing 6 for 31 before a last ball edge off Jhye Richardson’s bat took them beyond 180.
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