Australia cruised to a comfortable nine-wicket win against Pakistan after Kings XI Punjab's stars Andrew Tye and Aaron Finch made significant contributions in the opening Tri-Series T20 International match at Harare on Monday.
Put in to bat first, Pakistan were bundled out for just 116 after Billy Stanlake's initial burst that saw him ending up with enviable figures for 4/8 in his spell. Tye went for runs initially but came back and wrapped up the tail with three wickets in the final over.
The KXIP pacer ended up with a respectable 3/38 in 3.5 overs, which included Pakistan's top-scorer Shadab Khan. Marcus Stoinis, who also played for Punjab this season in the VIVO Indian Premier League, picked the second-highest scorer when he bowled Asif Ali for 21, recording 1/17 off his three overs.
"The tone the bowlers set with the ball on a pretty good wicket was fantastic," Finch said. "We've come here to win the series... It was a pretty polished performance here."
When Australia set out to bat, D'Arcy Short departed early on but captain Finch blitzed an unbeaten 33-ball 68 to take Australia to victory with little over nine overs to spare.
Aaron Finch has just spent the last 45 minutes crushing the ball. Keep him at the top of the order and leave him there. Please. #PAKvAUS— Adam White (@White_Adam) July 2, 2018
He started his onslaught with back-to-back sixes to end the second over bowled by Mohammad Nawaz and in the seventh over, he hit a boundary and then successive sixes again to ensure Pakistan had no chance of fighting back. Peppered with six 6s and four 4s, Finch scored with an astounding strike rate of 206.06.
"At times, when you're chasing a small total, you try to break the game open," summed up Finch, who also hung onto three catches earlier.
2018 - Aaron Finch has averaged 226 across his 5 T20I innings so far in 2018. Terrific. pic.twitter.com/Ezj5OXou9q— OptaJim (@OptaJim) July 2, 2018
Australia, who have ended their recent international losing streak, play Zimbabwe next at Harare next on Tuesday.