Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman clinched the second spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 rankings, after his match-winning 91 against top Australian side in the T20 tri-series final on Sunday.
Zaman, who Australian skipper Aaron Finch had called “a real thorn in our [Pakistan] side” before the final, slammed a career-best 91 in just 46 balls in the final, his blitz helping Pakistan cross Australia’s 183/8 with four balls in hand.
Zaman’s performance in the tournament was spectacular and his rise in the rankings equally so. His sequence in Zimbabwe tri-series was 61, 6, 47, 73 (his career-best score before the final) and 91. The dashing opener has moved up 44 spots on the table to reach No.2 with 842 points, also the best in his short international career so far.
The number one batsman in the ranking is Aussie skipper Finch due to his remarkable run during the tournament in Zimbabwe, scoring 68*, 172 – a world record in the format, 16, 3 and 47.
Coming as these runs did on the back of the 84 he scored in the one-off T20I against England, Finch rose three spots from No.4 to becoming the new No.1 batsman. He played no small role in Australia bouncing back from a spate of losses across formats in recent times, but it was still not enough for his team to win the tri-series title.
Interestingly, earlier in the tournament, Finch had also reached a career-high 900 points, and the new No.3 on the table, India’s KL Rahul, did the same in the first match of three-T20I series in England, getting to 854 points.
Meanwhile, the injured Babar Azam, Colin Munro and Glenn Maxwell all moved down, occupying the three spots below Finch, Zaman and Rahul, while further down on the list, there were more such interesting changes.
D’Arcy Short, Finch’s opening partner, had an up-and-down run in Zimbabwe, but scores of 46 and 76 – in the final – during the course of the tournament helped him jump 18 places to No.10. It’s a career-best number for him, his first time in the Top 10, with 690 points, also a career high.
Among others ending the England v India series with career-best points were Jason Roy (up 19 spots to No.15 with 641 points) and Jos Buttler (up nine spots to No.17 with 614 points), but perhaps the most breath-taking rise has been that of Zimbabwe opener Solomon Mire.