Babar Azam hit 68 and Imad Wasim marked his return with three wickets to guide Pakistan to a resounding 66-run win over Australia in the opening Twenty20 International at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Babar held the Pakistan innings together as the hosts reached 155-8, before left arm spinner Imad claimed 3-20 in four overs in his first game in over a year as Australia were bowled out for 89.
Pakistan, sent in to bat first, made a sound start. They crossed the 50-run mark in 7.1 overs and 100 in 12.3 overs when Mohammed Hafeez hoisted leg spinner Adam Zampa over the long-off fence.
Fakhar Zaman (14) was the first to depart when he top-edged paceman Billy Stanlake. Hafeez was then caught at long-on off left arm spinner D’Arcy Short after a 69-run stand for the second wicket with Babar in the 14th over.
Pakistan slumped to 133-8 after five wickets tumbled in 10 balls before Hasan Ali produced an unbeaten eight-ball 17 to finish their innings in a flourish.
Australia got off to the worst possible start as Imad struck twice to remove the two openers Aaron Finch (0) and D’Arcy Short (4) to leave the tourist 2-5.
Faheem Ashraf knocked back Glenn Maxwell’s middle stump and Ben McDermott was run out by a direct throw from Fakhar two balls later that left Australia 16-4 in the fourth over.
Imad had Alex Carey caught behind and Faheem knocked out Chris Lynn’s off stump to leave Australia 22-9 and virtually out of the game.
The two teams meet in the second of the three T20 games in Dubai on Friday.