Australia beats Pakistan by 3 wickets in one-off Twenty20

Australia beats Pakistan by 3 wickets in one-off Twenty20.

LAHORE, TGO: Australia rounded off its first tour to Pakistan in 24 years with a three-wicket victory in the one-off Twenty20 on Tuesday.

Captain Aaron Finch smashed 55 and anchored Australia to 163-7 with five balls to spare as Ben McDermott flicked Haris Rauf to backward square leg for a boundary.

Nathan Ellis picked up 4-28 and pulled Pakistan back to 162-8 after Babar Azam continued his run of golden form and struck 66 off 46 balls when Finch won the toss and elected to field first.

Australia won the three-test series 1-0, its first in Pakistan since 1998, and lost the ODI series 2-1 after several of its players were rested from the white-ball series while Mitchell Marsh and Steve Smith were ruled out due to injuries.

“Thought the way our bowlers attacked that game were fantastic,” said Finch, who came into the final game of the series after failing to score in the last two ODIs against Pakistan.

“Nathan Ellis had a tough start but showed real character. Everything we do is (with) one eye to the World Cup. There’s been a lot of great performances on this tour … to see so many young cricketers come on is super exciting.”

Travis Head, who scored a century in the first ODI, hit a brisk 26 off 14 balls and provided Australia a whirlwind start with Finch of 40 in 21 deliveries to set up a strong platform.

Josh Inglis, who missed out the ODI series after testing positive for COVID-19, also made a brisk 24 while Marcus Stoinis blasted five boundaries in his 9-ball 23 against some wayward Pakistan bowling — especially Hasan Ali, who conceded 30 runs off his three overs without taking a wicket.

Fast bowler Mohammad Wasim (2-30) clean bowled Stoinis and Cameron Green in successive overs but Australia made sure not to let the game slip away through some clinical hitting.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (2-21) had Finch caught on the edge of the boundary in his last over and also had Sean Abbott clean bowled before McDermott sealed the game in the final over.

Pakistan lost its way once Green, one of the three debutants for Australia, broke the half century opening stand by having Mohammad Rizwan (23) clean bowled with an off-cutter. Green was on a hat trick when Fakhar Zaman was snapped up by Finch at mid-on after the left-hander played a hard drive off a low full toss.

Adam Zampa put the brakes on Pakistan’s scoring rate when Babar, who hit six fours and two sixes in his 46-ball knock, was well caught at deep extra cover by Ellis in the 16th over.

Ellis then ran through the lower order by grabbing three wickets in his last two overs before Usman Qadir’s brisk 18 runs off debutant fast bowler Ben Dwarshuis’ (0-42) last over provided Pakistan a late flourish.