With brutal ball-striking and ominous batting form, Australian captain Aaron Finch butchered the Zimbabwe bowlers to post a mammoth 172, the highest individual score in T20 Internationals in the Tri Series encounter in Harare on Tuesday.

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Put into bat first, the Victorian looked effortless in his strokes evident right from the start. He hit the first 4 for the Aussies in the second over, a classical high-elbow drive through the covers, then followed up with a trifecta of boundaries in the next, and the first 6 of the innings in the fourth over as he steadily unleashed.

In the final over of the powerplay, he smashed a back-to-back six and a four and scored his fastest T20I fifty off just 22 balls. However, it wasn’t all about power, Finch along with ten massive sixes showed why he is a top-ranked T20I batsman with his ability to pick gaps. He scored five doubles in his knock which not only helped him hog the strike but also never let the bowlers get away.

Opening partner D’Arcy Short had the best seat in the house to Finch’s masterclass as played second fiddle to his skipper. When Short was dismissed for 46 in the final over, he had put together a mammoth 223 run stand for the first wicket, which was not just the highest partnership but the longest one as well in all T20Is.

Australia ended up with 229/2 in their 20 with both Short and Finch dismissed in the final over by Blessing Muzarabani, the record-breaker chasing a wide delivery that upset his balance, with his bat hitting the off stump as he stumbled.

The Kings XI Punjab batsman’s innings comprised 16 fours and 10 sixes, accounting for 124 runs and 72 percent of his runs scored. The remaining 48 runs were scored in singles alone off the rest of the 50 deliveries he faced.

His recent run of form has been terrific. In the last 10 innings, he has now scored 4 fifties and 2 centuries, including the blitz against Pakistan in Australia’s Tri Series opener on Monday. His statistics look even better when filtered with only T20Is this year.

"It was nice to get a few in the middle, and break the record," Finch said. "This innings is right up there. They don't happen very often, so very pleased with it."

In response, Zimbabwe could manage only 129/9 in their 20 overs with Andrew Tye among the wickets again. The KXIP pacer took a miserly 3/12 in his four overs ripping into the middle order and registering his second straight three-fer, emerging as the pick of the bowlers in the match. Marcus Stoinis, another of the Kings’ men, picked up 1/11 in the two overs he bowled.

Australia’s 100-run victory would bode very well for the team’s spirit when they meet Pakistan again on Thursday.