Imad Wasim grabbed 3-20 on his return to international cricket after almost one year out to help Pakistan earn an emphatic 66-run win over Australia in the first Twenty20 on Wednesday. Wasim dismantled Australia’s top order with his left-arm spin in his first three overs to dismiss the visitors for 89 in 16.5 overs. Nathan Coulter-Nile’s 34 helped Australia go past its previous lowest T20 score of 79 made against England at Southampton in 2005 before he was the last man to be dismissed.
Earlier, Babar Azam’s unbeaten 68 off 55 balls had anchored Pakistan to 155-8 after Australia won the toss and opted to field first. Mohammad Hafeez (39) and Azam shared a 73-run second-wicket stand and dominated the spinners in the middle overs before Australia pegged back Pakistan with five wickets in 10 deliveries for just three runs.
Billy Stanlake (3-21) and Andrew Tye (3-24) struck in quick succession, but Hasan Ali (17 not out) smashed two fours and a six in Coulter-Nile’s last over which lifted the Pakistan total. Part-time spinner D’Arcy Short had Hafeez top-edging to long-on and Asif Ali was caught plumb leg before wicket by legspinner Adam Zampa.
But Tye started the slide in the 17th over when he had Hussain Talat and Faheem Ashraf dismissed off successive deliveries and then Stanlake removed Ahmed and Shadab Khan in the next over. Tye returned and had Shadab Khan caught at long-on before Ali’s late blitz saw Coulter-Nile conceding 17 runs in the last over.
Wasim, known for his exploits with the new ball in Twenty20s, struck in the first over by clean bowling both captain Aaron Finch and Short before having Alex Carey caught behind. Seamer Ashraf (2-10) knocked back the stumps of Glenn Maxwell and Chris Lynn while Ben McDermott was run out for zero as Australia slipped to 22-6 inside the first six overs.
Ashton Agar (19) and Coulter-Nile shared 38-run seventh wicket stand before Australia was bowled out with 19 balls to spare when legspinner Shadab Khan had Coulter-Nile clean bowled. Dubai will now host the second and third matches of the three-game series on Friday and Sunday.