5th match, Harare, July 05, 2018, ZIM T20 Tri Series
(20 ov, T:195) 149/7

Pakistan won by 45 runs

Player Of The Match
73 (42)

Pakistan thump Australia in dress rehearsal for final

A career best 73 for Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman set Pakistan up for a convincing win over Australia in Harare

Pakistan 194 for 7 (Fakhar 73, Asif 37*, Tye 3-35) beat Australia 149 for 7 (Carey 37*, Shaheen Afridi 3-37) by 45 runs
Pakistan gained a mental advantage over Australia by dominating Aaron Finch's team in a match that served as a dress rehearsal for Sunday's Twenty20 triangular tournament final at the Harare Sports Club.
Having beaten Pakistan comfortably in their first meeting, the Australians put in an unfocused performance, dropping far too short with the new ball after Finch sent Sarfraz Ahmed's side in to bat to allow Fakhar Zaman to fire off a succession of pull shots on his way to the highest score of the match. They then lost a series of early wickets to the late moving ball in the hands of Faheem Ashraf and the 18-year-old left-armer Shaheen Afridi.
Having slid as low as 75 for 5, Australia never looked likely to get close to their target, though the wicketkeeper and vice-captain Alex Carey played another intelligent innings down the order. Pakistan's victory also served the purpose of preventing Australia from taking their place at the top of the ICC's T20 international rankings.
Both sides had already qualified for Sunday's tournament final, making this game chiefly a chance to gain information and psychological high ground. Australia kept the same side that delivered comfortable wins over Pakistan and Zimbabwe to be the first team to reach the decider. Pakistan included the youthful Afridi for his second T20I in place of Hasan Ali, while Usman Khan came in for Mohammad Nawaz.
On a cold morning in Harare, Billy Stanlake failed to induce the sort of early collapse he had been responsible for in Monday's match. While Jhye Richardson enjoyed the good fortune of having Haris Sohail clip his first delivery straight to square leg to depart for a golden duck, the Pakistan top order were able to feast on a generous helping of short stuff.
Fakhar was the major beneficiary, flashing nine boundaries and a trio of sixes on the way to the highest score of his T20I career thus far - he is Pakistan's leading run-maker in this tournament by a distance, and will require far more careful planning by Australia's pacemen and coaches ahead of the decider.
They reached 80 inside nine overs before Hussain Talat was cramped for room by Glenn Maxwell's off-breaks and bowled, and from there a series of nifty partnerships ensured that Finch's side was unable to restrict the run rate. A particularly heavy toll was taken from the bowling of Ashton Agar, while 18 runs from the final over rather disfigured Aaron Tye's previously excellent figures.
Needing a rapid start given the task they were facing, Finch and D'Arcy Short were instead confounded by Pakistan's fast men pitching the ball much further up to the bat and finding movement both in the air and off the seam. Finch was cornered by an Afridi delivery bending back at him and was caught behind off the inside edge, then Travis Head's minimal footwork was exposed when Faheem Ashraf seamed one back to pluck out middle stump.
Maxwell managed a pair of boundaries before he played around a late inswinger from Afridi that pinned him in front of middle stump, and the innings of Nic Maddinson - who made the squad despite being cut from the New South Wales contract list - lasted only eight balls before he misread a well-pitched wrong'un from Shadab Khan and was comfortably stumped.
Short had persevered without timing the ball with anything like the power of which he is capable, but was well and truly beaten by the yorker Afridi served up on his return to the bowling crease. From there it was largely a matter of damage limitation for the Australians, as Carey knocked the ball around with the sort of resourcefulness that is quickly becoming his trademark without ever looking likely to threaten a distant target.
Pakistan will now go into the final with plenty of confidence, while the Australians must face Zimbabwe before reconsidering their approach to Fakhar, Afridi and the rest of Sarfraz's team.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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