Lahore: Australia produced a world champions-like performance when they wrapped up their historic tour of Pakistan with a three-wicket victory in the one-off T20I at the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday.
Aaron Finch finally produced a player of the match performance after three consecutive 50-over failures to hit 55, his 16th T20I half-century in 89 matches. Josh Inglis hit a 15-ball 24, Travis Head clubbed three fours and a six in a 14-ball 26, Marcus Stoinis belted five fours in a nine-ball 23 and Ben McDermott scored a 19-ball 22 not out as Australia achieved the 163-run target in 19.1 overs.
Finch faced 45 balls and hit six fours. He put on 40 runs for the first wicket with Head, another 44 runs for the second wicket with Inglis, while his sixth-wicket partnership with McDermott yielded 29 runs. In their run-chase, Australia had a couple of minor blips. They were first reduced from 83 for one to 129 for five and then lost two wickets in the penultimate over as they required four runs off the last over.
But McDermott ensured there were no late twists to the tale. Australia needed just over eight runs per over from the very outset and were always ahead of the target. They scored 63 runs for one wicket in the PowerPlay overs, 95 for two at the halfway stage and 138 for five after 15 overs.
For Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jnr and Usman Qadir picked up two wickets apiece conceding 21, 30 and 33 runs, respectively.
Earlier, Pakistan threw away a 67-run opening start in 7.3 overs to slip to 148 for eight in 18.2 overs before finishing at 162 for eight. Hard-hitting Fakhar Zaman (0), Iftikhar Ahmed (13), Khushdil Shah (24) and Asif Ali (3) collectively contributed run-a-ball 40 runs between them as Pakistan managed only 82 runs in their last 10 overs, including 50 runs in the last five overs.
Pakistan will be thankful to No.10 batter Usman Qadir to help them cross the 160-run mark. The left-hander slapped two fours and a six in a rapid six-ball 18 not out. Pakistan captain Babar Azam was once again his side's top-scorer with a brilliant 46-ball 66 that included six signature fours and two sixes. This was Babar's 26th T20I half-century in 74 matches. Mohammad Rizwan scored 23 off 19 balls with a four and a six.
For Australia, fast bowler Nathan Ellis was the pick of the bowlers. Playing only his third match, Ellis returned figures of 4-0-28-4.
Scores in brief: Pakistan 162/8 (Babar Azam 66, Khushdil Shah 24, Mohammad Rizwan 23, Usman Qadir 18 not out, Nathan Ellis 4-28) vs Australia 163-7 (Aaron Finch 55, Travis Head 26, Josh Inglis 24, Marcus Stoinis 23, Ben McDermott 22 not out; Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-21, Mohammad Wasim 2-30, Usman Qadir 2-33)