Advertisement

Australia vs Pakistan, 3rd T20I: Preview – Last chance for the visitors to gain parity as ruthless Aussies aim another series win

Pakistan are likely to make a few changes to their line-up.

Australia and Pakistan
Australia and Pakistan. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

So, this is it now!  The caravan of the Pakistan tour of Australia now moves to the Perth and it is now the last opportunity to seek parity in what has been a hugely one-sided series thus far. It will be a final opportunity for the Babar Azam-led team to wreck the No.1 T20I sides’ five-match winless streak and also for some of the under-fire cricketers to re-establish their credentials in the set-up.

Pakistan’s problems, as it always has been during their previous tours of Australia, is their batsmen- sans Babar Azam’s ability to adjust to the bounce and pace of the tracks. The skipper has looked like a million dollars but sadly his compatriots in Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, and Haris Sohail haven’t been able to compliment him. But it is not only their batting that has led them down thus far. The bowlers’ inability to strike at the start of the innings and Shadab Khan’s continued struggles to strike in the middle-overs has been a major source of contention.

Advertisement

As for Australia, it has been a smooth ride since the start of the home season. Their top-3- David Warner, Steve Smith, and Aaron Finch- has done all the running thus far with the bat while the bowlers have been equally brilliant in restricting the opposition- whether it is through fast bowling or their spinners. With another clean sweep in sight, much of the same can be expected in Perth.

Team Combination

Australia

Australia has made one change to the playing eleven that beat Pakistan in the second T20I in Canberra. Pace spearhead Pat Cummins has been rested for the third match in a bid to keep him fresh for the Test summer. Cummins’s absence paves the way for West Australia’s Sean Abbott to feature in an international match for the Aussies in more than five years. Apart from this obvious change, the hosts should play the same eleven that won by seven wickets at the Manuka Oval.

Probable XI: Aaron Finch (C), David Warner, Steven Smith, Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner, Alex Carey (wk), Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Sean Abbott, Adam Zampa

Pakistan

Well! Where should we start? For starters, opener Fakhar Zaman just can’t buy a run right now! The left-hander looks horribly out of his depth and Pakistan would do well to give the southpaw a break. This means Imam-ul-Haq could get a look-in into the set-up for the third game.  But, is he the solution? Imam has played just one T20I this year and his strike-rate in ODIs has already been a source of contention. That leaves us with the middle-order.

Haris Sohail has been one the in-form Pakistani players in white-ball cricket this year but the similar manner of his dismissals in the series has posed a question on his technique and temperament, something which Australia will exploit yet again on a bouncy Perth pitch. With the likes of Asif Ali and Mohammad Rizwan struggling to set the ball rolling in the middle and death overs, Pakistan will do well to promote Iftikhar Ahmed up the order.

He scored a whirlwind 34-ball 62 in the last game and was a major reason in the visitors getting to the 150-run mark. In his past six innings, Ahmed averages 165.00 and strikes at 151.37, and his form should be made to full use by Babar Azam and the team management and that can only happen by allowing him a few more balls to bat. Also, is there a case for Khushdil Shah in the line-up in place of misfiring Asif Ali?

And, now on the bowling bit. Apart from Mohammad Amir (7 wickets at 22.85) and Imad Wasim (7 wickets at 25.42), none of the Pakistani bowler averages below 30 in T20I cricket this year. Mohammad Irfan (1 wicket at 58.00) and Wahab Riaz (2 wickets at 45.00) have been hugely ineffective.

So, the question begs to remain. When will the youngsters like Mohammad Hassnain and Muhammad Musa get their chance? And, what about Shadab Khan? The ace leg-spinner, much like Fakhar, can’t buy a wicket currently. Shadab averages 56.75 in 8 T20Is this year, and even though he was economical, Pakistan needs wickets from their premier spinner in the middle-overs.

Probable XI: Fakhar Zaman/Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (c), Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Asif Ali/Khushdil Shah, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz/Muhammad Musa, Mohammad Irfan/Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Amir, Shadab Khan/Usman Qadir.

Focus will be on

Ben McDermott (Australia)

With the trio of Warner, Smith and Aaron Finch doing all the work in the IT20s this summer, Australia’s middle-order is yet to be tested. With Glenn Maxwell no longer available, the onus will be on the likes of Ben McDermott, who have registered scored of 5 and 21 in the limited opportunities he has got, and will be looking to make a substantial mark on the side in the unlikely event of the failure of top-order.

Iftikhar Ahmed (Pakistan)

Iftikhar Ahmed’s whirlwind knock came as a breath of fresh air in what was otherwise an insipid display of batting by the Pakistani middle-order. Ahmed, who averages 105.00 and is striking at 156.71 in the four T20Is he’s featured this year, is in far too good form to be wasted in the lower-order. With the likes of Asif Ali misfiring consistently, a promotion in the batting order for Iftikhar is quite a logical step.

Stat Attack-

0– No of T20Is Pakistan have won since Misbah Ul-Haq took over as coach.

56.75– Shadab Khan’s bowling average in T20Is this year.

Broadcast Details

TV– Sony SIX, Sony SIX HD

Online– Sony LIV

Match Timings – 04:30 PM local time, 2:00 PM IST (08:30 AM GMT)

Advertisement