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Pakistan are looking to regain ground on Australia in their second encounter of the T20 tri-series in Zimbabwe. Both sides are guaranteed their spot in Sunday’s final after Pakistan consigned the hosts Zimbabwe to a third straight defeat on Wednesday. But Pakistan need a strong performance if they are to seriously challenge Australia, who have been in scintillating form since arriving in Africa. The first meeting between the sides yielded a nine-wicket win for Aaron Finch’s team, who won with 11.1 overs to spare after Billy Stanlake’s 4/8 helped restrict Pakistan to just 116. Captain Finch hit a 33-ball 68* in that chase, but that was just a warm-up for what was to come the following day, when the brutal right-hander made a record 172 off 76 balls against Zimbabwe.
There were pleasing contributions from Pakistan’s batsmen in their Wednesday outing – 47 for Fakhar Zaman, 44 for Hussain Talat and an unbeaten 38 for skipper Sarfraz Ahmed – but they must find away of surviving and scoring quickly off the tall, pacey Stanlake if they are to compete with the Aussies. Billy Stanlake will hold the trump card for Australia. Perhaps unusual not to opt for Finch given his form but it’s the aggressive Billy Stanlake who won the game for the Aussies in the teams’ last meeting. By ripping out the top order and going at just two an over in the Powerplay he finished the match almost before it was started.
Squads: Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (c, wk), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Sahibzada Farhan
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