Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez plays a shot during the 1st T20 match against Australia in Zayed Cricket stadium in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Australia’s fate in the opener of the three match T20 series against Pakistan was decided as soon as left-arm orthodox spin Imad Wasim bowled the first over of the innings.

Skipper Aaron Finch and D’Arcy Short both bowled and the target of 156 set by Pakistan straight away looked as an impossible mission.

With pacer Faheem Ashraf also getting into the act with a flurry of wickets, over half of the Australian side was back in the hut in just five overs – 22 for 6 to be precise.

And after just 16.5 overs Australia crashed to a humiliating 66-run defeat after being bowled out for 89 in 16.5 overs at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium on Wednesday.

Imad, who following his scalps emulates Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo’s epic celebration, finished with exceptional figures of 3 for 20 from 4 overs.  Faheem and Shaheen Shah Afridi settled for two wickets apiece from three overs each.

On a forgettable night for the Aussies, Nathan Coulter-Nile (34) Ashton Agar (19) were the only batsmen to give some resistance.

Earlier, Australia riding on three wickets each from Billy Stanlake and Andrew Tye, restricted Pakistan to 155 for 8 in 20 overs.

The men from Down Under, chose not to disturb their winning combination and went in with the same squad that beat UAE in the one-off T20 international just a couple of days back.

After putting Pakistan in, Australia got the breakthrough in the fourth over. Fakhar Zaman (14) couldn’t negotiate the bounce from the tall pacer Billy Stanlake and the top edge flew to Nathan Coulter-Nile at short cover.

Mohammed Hafeez and Babar Azam then provided the impetus to the Pakistan innings with a partnership of 73 for the second wicket. Pakistan’s 100 was onboard in 12.3 overs with Hafeez hammering leg spinner Adam Zamba for a huge six over long-off.

Once Hafeez (39 off 30) holed out to Ben McDermott at long-on in the 14th over off Short, Pakistan just kept losing wickets in a heap.

They lost six wickets for 28 runs and seeing the carnage from the other end was a well set Babar Azam, who was going strong on a 52 ball 64. Four wickets fell in just eight deliveries and medium pacer Andrew Tye was also on a hat-trick after scalping the wickets of Hussain Talat and Faheem Ashraf. Asif Ali, skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Imad were all in and out in a flash. 

Had it not been for Hasan Ali’s unbeaten 17 off 8 deliveries, which included two boundaries and a six of the last over from Coulter-Nile, Pakistan wouldn’t have crossed the 150-mark. Azam remained unbeaten on a 55 ball 68 and it was laced with five hits to the ropes and a six.

Brief scores

Pakistan beat Australia by 66-runs . Pakistan 155 for 8 in 20 overs (Mohammed Hafeez (39 off 30), Babar Azam (68 off 55 balls), Billy Stanlake 3 for 21, Andrew Tye 3 for 24. Australia 89 all out in 16.5 overs Coulter-Nile 34, Ashton Agar 19,  Imad Wasim 3 for 20, Faheem Ashraf 2 for 10 in 3 overs, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2 for 23 in 3 overs).