Lahore - Aaron Finch played captain innings and steered Australia to a three-wicket victory over Pakistan in the one-off Twenty20 International played here at the crowded Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday night.

Pakistani openers provided Pakistan a solid start but they couldn’t maintain their supremacy and posted 162-8 on the board in 20 overs. Australia started their run-chase well but in the middle of their innings, they lost their important wickets quickly but captain Aaron Finch remained firm and brought his side closer to victory, and in the end, Ben McDermott landed his side home, chasing the target 163-7 in 19.1 overs.

Australia were off to a good start as they gathered 40 first-wicket stand but Haris Rauf then provided Pakistan much-needed breakthrough as he tapped Travis Head at 26 off 14 balls that included 3 fours and 1 six. The Aussies then collected 44 more runs for the second-wicket partnership but this time, Usman Qadir got important wicket of Josh Inglis (24) and then in the very next over, he trapped Marnus Labuschagne (2). At this stage, Australia were reeling at 95-3 in 10.1 overs.

Pakistani bowlers had some wonderful spells at his crucial time which helped them take significant wickets of the hosts, who, at one time, were 129-5 in 13.4 overs, but captain Aaron Finch showed his class and steadied the Aussie ship with his brilliant batting display and brought his side closer to victory. When he was playing at 55 off 45 balls hitting six boundaries, he was sent packing by Shaheen Afridi. McDermott then played key role and hammered a fabulous four on the very first delivery of the penultimate over to guide Australia to a 3-wicket win.

Earlier Australian captain Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to field. Brilliant bowling by Nathan Ellis helped Australia restrict Pakistan to 162-8 after the hosts made a blazing start in their one-off T20I. Both openers Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan provided great start to Pakistan and raced to 56-0 at the end of the first powerplay. But debutant Cameron Green denied Pakistan batters to post a big total as he dismissed Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman in the consecutive balls in the eighth over. He though failed to complete his hat-trick yet he had struck a major blow to Pakistan’s charge.

Despite the best efforts of captain Babar Azam (66), Pakistan could never regain their early momentum, when they appeared to be on record pace. Nathan Ellis recovered from an early battering to cause all sorts of problems for Pakistan’s middle-order to finish with career-best figures of 4-28.

Player of match Aaron Finch said: “Thought the way our bowlers attacked that game were fantastic. Nathan Ellis had a tough start but showed real character. Everything we do is one eye to the World Cup. There’s been a lot of great performances on this tour and the whole Australia summer. To see so many young cricketers come on is super exciting. Glad we don’t have to bowl to Babar anymore for a while.”

Scores in brief

AUSTRALIA 163-7 in 19.1 overs (Finch 55, Travis Head 26, Ben McDermott 22; Shaheen Afridi 2-21, Usman Qadir 2-33, Muhammad Wasim 2-30) beat PAKISTAN 162-8 in 20 overs (Babar Azam 66, Khushdil Shah 24, M Rizwan 23; Nathan Elis 4-28, Cameron Green 2-16) by 3 wickets.