Pakistan vs Australia, Only T20I Preview: T20 WC revenge in the air as big guns meet in last match of tour
Like it or not, the recent semi-final clash between the two sides in the 2021 T20 World Cup will dominate the conversation.
Happy memories for Australia, not so much for Pakistan
Australia, albeit depleted, are all set to face Pakistan in the last match of the tour after a decent run in the ODIs, which they ultimately lost by 2-1.
The last time both teams met in this format was in the high octane semi-final of the T20 World Cup where Australia managed to win by 5 wickets with 6 balls to spare, courtesy of some exceptional late order striking from Matthew Wade.
David Warner and Marcus Stoinis were the other stars for Australia with the bat while Adam Zampa and Pat Cummins impressed with the ball.
For Pakistan, their top 3 fired, as they do more often not, with Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam adding 71 runs for the opening partnership within the first 10 overs. Fakhar Zaman then smashed 55 off just 32 balls including some sensational sixes.
But that did not prove to be enough as Wade hit trump card Shaheen Shah Afridi of three back to back sixes to seal the deal. Shadab Khan was by far the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan on the night and took 4 wickets while giving away 26 runs from his four overs.
Pakistan hopeful of Shadab's return
Shadab Khan was in fact named the vice captain of both the ODI and the T20I squads against Australia but wasn't able to feature in the ODI series due to a groin injury he picked up during the PSL.
If Shadab does play, it will be a welcome relief for Pakistan, not only for his wicket taking ability but his prowess with the bat as well.
Imam out, Azam to accompany Rizwan at the top
Pakistan will see a reshuffle of their top order with Imam-ul-Haq going out and Babar Azam accompanying Mohammed Rizwan at the top of the order. Fakhar Zaman is likely to slot in at number 3.
With Mohammad Hafeez having retired from international cricket, Haider Ali is most likely to take his place despite an indifferent PSL. Asif Ali and Iftikhar Ahmed provide the big hitting arsenal in the Pakistan middle order.
Aaron Finch's rut
With the ball, Shaheen Shah Afridi as always will try to do some damage with the new ball and the Australian openers will have to be mindful of that, particularly given that Aaron Finch has been going through a terrible run of form of late.
Finch will have to produce a couple of match winning knocks sooner rather than later in order to hold on to not only his captaincy but his place in the XI as well.
With several players unavailable, Australia do not have many choices as far as their team is concerned. However, with there being just a one-off T20 International, they have as much chance of winning as Pakistan.
Several Aussie players are not part of the white ball matches either due to injury or rest in the lead up to IPL 2022.
David Warner, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith and Kane Richardson are all not part of Australia's white ball squads. Steven Smith and Kane Richardson were set to play in the series but had to pull out due to injuries while Glenn Maxwell is taking some time off after his marriage.
Predicted Playing XIs
Pakistan - Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Shahen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Usman Qadir/Shadab Khan
Australia - Travis Head, Aaron Finch (c), Ben McDermott, Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Sean Abbott/Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Swepson
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