After battling it out in the longest format, Pakistan and Australia are ready to face off in a three-match T20I series starting Wednesday. The hosts will be looking to carry on the momentum from Tests while Australia will see this as chance to redeem themselves.
Pakistan are currently sitting on top in the T20I rankings and are entering the series on the back of nine consecutive series win. Australia hold third position in the rankings and will be hoping to give Pakistan a stern test.
How The Teams Shape Up
Fakhar Zaman holds the key for Pakistan at the top. The dauntless left hander looked in good touch and scored half centuries in the recently concluded Test. Shoaib Malik will not be available for the first game. Babar Azam, Hussain Talat and Asif Ali will make the middle order followed by the all-rounders.
After a series of disappointing performances, Muhammad Amir has been dropped from the T20 squad. Waqas Maqsood, the left arm pacer is in after his impressive performances in the domestic circuit and with Pakistan A. Imad Wasim comes in to the side to make his first international appearance in 2018. Shaheen Shah and Hassan Ali will take the responsibility of the pace attack.
Even without David Warner, Australia have plenty of fire power in their ranks in this format. Aaron Finch will be leading Aussies in to action. He will have the support of D’arcy Short, Chris Lynn. Glen Maxwell is back in the T20 side after his much debated omission from the test squad. With a striker rate of 162.18 he can change the game in a matter of two overs.
Billy Stanlake will hold the key for Australia in bowling. Sarfraz’s men will be wary of the threat he possesses. Not so long along he decimated Pakistan batting line up with figures of 4/8 in Harare. He will have the support of Nathan Coulter-Nile who is coming back after the injury but looked impressive against UAE. His ability to hit yorkers will be crucial in containing Pakistan’s batsmen. The pacers will have the support of Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar in the spin department.
Sarfraz will go with his usual mantra of strangling the opposition with spin. Return of Imad Wasim who has an excellent record in the UAE will give him an extra attacking option in the powerplay. Australia have a chance to clinch the top rankings if they manage to clean sweep the series. A realistic lesser series win will have them jump above India and will give them second position.
1.Fakhar Zaman, 2. Muhammad Hafeez, 3. Babar Azam, 4. Hussain Talat, 5. Sarfraz Ahmed (c&wk), 6. Asif Ali, 7. Faheem Ashraf, 8. Imad Wasim, 9. Shadab Khan, 10. Hassan Ali/Usman Shinwari, 11. Shaheen Afridi
- Aaron Finch (c), 2. D’arcy Short, 3. Chris Lynn, 4. Glenn Maxwell, 5. Ben McDermott, 6. Alex Carey (wk), 7. Ashton Agar, 8. Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9. Andrew Tye, 10. Adam Zampa, 11. Billy Stanlake
Head To Head
Overall: Matches – 17, PAK won – 9, AUS won – 7
In UAE: Matches – 5, PAK won – 3, AUS won – 2