Imperious Smith gives Australia series lead over Pakistan
Steve Smith smashed an unbeaten half-century as Australia beat Pakistan by seven wickets at Manuka Oval to lead the Twenty20 International series.
Prolific captain Babar Azam made a classy 50 and Iftikhar Ahmed bludgeoned 63 not out from only 34 balls to get the tourists up to 150-6 after winning the toss.
Australia looked to be heading for an emphatic victory in the first match of the series when they were frustrated by rain, but they were not to be denied two days later in the day-night contest in Canberra.
Smith got them home with a magnificent 80 off 51 deliveries, pacing his innings to perfection as top-ranked Pakistan were consigned to defeat with nine balls to spare.
Victory in Canberra as Steve Smith guides the Aussies to a seven-wicket win over Pakistan. A 1-0 lead as the series heads to Perth for Friday's final #AUSvPAK Gillette T20I pic.twitter.com/hWx36SSr8W
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) November 5, 2019
The brilliant Babar struck Kane Richardson's first two balls for four and kept Pakistan ticking along after Fakhar Zaman and Haris Sohail fell cheaply to Pat Cummins and Richardson respectively.
Ashton Agar (2-23) put the squeeze on, seeing the back of Mohammad Rizwan and Asif Ali with Pakistan struggling to increase the run rate, Cummins and Mitchell Starc also giving little away.
Pakistan were 106-5 when Babar was superbly run out by David Warner just after reaching his half-century - which included six fours - but Iftikhar struck Richardson for three sixes and found the ropes five times in a much-needed onslaught.
Warner (20) was looking ominous in the run chase until the in-form opener's off stump was clattered by Mohammad Amir and Australia were 48-2 in the sixth over when Mohammad Irfan got rid of Aaron Finch.
Smith was in imperious touch, though, effortlessly flicking Amir for a wristy six and putting on 58 for the third wicket with Ben McDermott, who was trapped in front by Imad Wasim for 21.
Former captain Smith took 15 off the 17th over from Amir and struck 11 boundaries before watching on from the other end as Ashton Turner struck the winning run in the penultimate over.
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