Dubai: Sohail Tanvir guided Pakistan to a crushing seven-wicket victory over Australia in their first Twenty20 match on Wednesday, restricting the opposition to their second lowest total ever in the format.
Australia was all out for 89, while Pakistan cruised to 90 for 3 with 31 balls to spare as the three-match series got underway. It was Australia's lowest T20 score since it scored 79 against England in 2005.
Opener Shane Watson, back from a calf injury, was bowled for 8 in the third over and was soon followed by Michael Hussey for 1.
Only David Warner (22), Cameron White (15) and George Bailey (14) reached double figures, with Australia scoring three fours and no sixes.
Tanvir took 3 for 13, while captain Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal and Raza Hasan claimed two wickets each.
Pakistan wasted little time in its response, with openers Hafeez and Imran Nazir rattling up 30 runs for the first wicket.
Australia managed to slow the momentum briefly when Ben Hilfenhaus bowled Nasir Jamshed (10) and White caught Nazir (22) off a delivery from Watson for 68 for 3. However, it was already too late.
Kamran Akmal top-scored with 31 not out from 24 balls that included three boundaries and a six.
Shoaib Malik chipped in with nine runs and sealed victory with a four as Pakistan recovered from its 2-1 series ODI defeat to Australia.
"We were very sure of our plans and today everybody responded well," Hafeez said. "The bowlers did the job for Pakistan to be honest. They restricted Australia to a total that was easy for the batsman to chase out."
Hafeez said his team was looking for a strong showing against Australia to give team spirit a lift ahead of the World Twenty20 which starts in Sri Lanka later this month. Pakistan, which won the tournament in 2009 and lost in the semifinals in 2010 to Australia, is among the favorites.
"This series is basically the preparation for the World T20. We are trying to win every game of this series," Hafeez said. "It's only the one game win and there are two left. We have to assure as a unit that we win every game inshallah (with God's will) and that momentum will definitely help us in World T20."
The only downside for Pakistan is that Shahid Afridi will not be back until at least the third match due to a left thumb injury that he sustained in the final ODI against Australia.
Australia captain George Bailey conceded his side had been "completely outplayed" but said he was confident the team wouldn't repeat the dismal performance in the rest of the series.
"Not sure 89 would ever keep us in the game," Bailey said. "You want your top four or five batsman batting most of the innings. To be four down at the seven or eight over mark, we were certainly behind the game. We knew Pakistan would be competitive in this form of the game and they played very well."
Australia came into the ODI matches against Pakistan knowing that the biggest challenge was in mastering its spin bowlers. It seemed to have figured the spinners out in its win on Tuesday to clinch the ODI series.
But on Wednesday, those challenges remerged in the shape of Ajmal and left-arm spinner Hasan.
"It is a work in progress and it will be a real key the way we play spin heading into the World Cup," Bailey said. "We are working on it. In terms of the World Cup, there is no better practice than playing against the world class spinners that Pakistan have in these three games."
Bailey said he remained confident the team could win the World T20 but admitted "we certainly wouldn't win it if we played like we did today. But hopefully we won't."
Though disappointed with the unwanted record, Bailey refused to be downbeat about the team's future in the format. "I don't think even if it's your first hit you don't want to ever set those types of records," he said. "I'm very disappointed ... But in terms of the bigger picture, in terms of what we are working toward and what we are capable of, it hasn't altered my thoughts that we can be a very good team.
"I guess the challenge is to decrease the gap between our best and worst cricket."