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.
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.
Aaron Finch is now the 2nd Australian to score three consecutive fifty-plus scores in T20I cricket.— Sampath Bandarupalli (@SampathStats) July 3, 2018
Shane Watson (2011-2012) was the first Australian to score three successive 50+ in T20Is. #ZIMvAUS
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.
Aaron Finch's 172 off 76 balls is the highest score in T20Is, the second highest in all T20s, the highest percentage of team runs scored by a single player (75%), the most balls faced in an innings in T20Is & the second most balls faced in an innings in all T20 cricket. #ZimvAus pic.twitter.com/jtx3SE0jOP— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) July 3, 2018
Aaron Finch now has two T20I centuries. They are the two highest individual scores in T20Is.— Barny Read (@BarnabyRead) July 3, 2018
1️⃣7️⃣2️⃣ (7️⃣6️⃣b)🆚🇿🇼 - 3 July, 2018
1️⃣5️⃣6️⃣ (6️⃣3️⃣b)🆚🏴 - 29 Aug, 2015
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.
1 - Aaron Finch & D'Arcy Short have set the highest ever partnership in T20I cricket (223 v Zimbabwe); beating the previous best by 52 runs (171* - Guptill & Williamson v Pakistan, 2016). Stand. #ZIMvAUS pic.twitter.com/vowj4RMMUQ— OptaJim (@OptaJim) July 3, 2018
Aaron Finch and D'Arcy Short record the first ever 200-run stand in the history of T20I cricket (Men/Women).— Sampath Bandarupalli (@SampathStats) July 3, 2018
The previous highest partnership was 182 between Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine for the opening wicket against South Africa Women last month. #ZIMvAUS
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.
Aaron Finch dismissed for 172 (76). Finchy did what Zimbabwe couldn’t and hit his wicket ... after 19.4 overs in a T20. Fair knock.— Sam Landsberger 🗯 (@SamLandsberger) July 3, 2018
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.
Australia haven't needed any of their other batsmen, their finch hitter has made all the runs himself #ZIMvAUS— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) July 3, 2018
Aaron Finch (172) scored 75.11% of Australia's total of 229/2. This is the highest % of team's total scored by any player in a completed innings in International cricket. #ZIMvAUS— Sampath Bandarupalli (@SampathStats) July 3, 2018
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."
Aaron Finch has also become the joint-fastest batsman to reach 1500 runs in Twenty 20 Internationals with Virat Kohli. He has 1530 runs in 39 innings. #ZIMvAUS— Israr Ahmed Hashmi (@IamIsrarHashmi) July 3, 2018
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.