A severely depleted Zimbabwe kept the pressure on Australia until the second-last ball in their T20I Tri-Series match at Harare.
With their T20I record standing at one win apiece in the series, Zimbabwe failed to put enough runs on the board to initially make the Aussie batters jittery.
Solomon Mire was again the star for Zimbabwe, striking five fours and two sixes to score 63 off 52 balls before Andrew Tye uprooted his off-stump.
Tye (3-28, econ 7.00) and Billy Stanlake (2-21, econ 5.25 runs) kept the Zimbabwe batters in check to restrict Zimbabwe to 151-9 off their 20 overs.
A 103-run partnership for the third wicket between Travis Head (48 off 42 balls) and Glenn Maxwell (56 off 38 balls, including five sixes) kept Australia comfortably on track for the win, but tight bowling in overs 17, 18 and 19 ― as well as a wicket in each over ― brought Zimbabwe back into the reckoning.
With seven runs needed off the last over, Donald Tiripano started with two wides, followed by a dot ball off the first legal delivery of the over. He redeemed himself somewhat by restricting the Aussies to singles off the next three balls before Marcus Stoinis slashed the second last ball over square leg for four to take Australia to victory.
Blesing Muzarabani finished with figures of 3-21 off his four overs (econ 5.25) and didn’t concede a single boundary.
Tye was named Player of the Match after taking his fourth successive three-for, as well as wrapping up his 50th T20 wicket in the year.
‘It’s something I’ve been working on, taking wickets at crucial times. I’ve got lucky in this series, taking wickets at the death and stopping teams when they want more runs,’ said Tye. ‘Just got to look at where the batsmen are trying to hit balls and then mix their rhythm up by changing pace, the line and length.’
Australia faces Pakistan in the final on Sunday.
Photo: JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images