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In-form Pakistan Aim for Series Sweep in Final T20I Against Australia

High on confidence after two clinical wins in as many games, Pakistan will be keen on completing a series sweep when they face Australia in the third and final T20I on Sunday.

Cricketnext Staff |October 28, 2018, 1:21 PM IST
In-form Pakistan Aim for Series Sweep in Final T20I Against Australia

High on confidence after two clinical wins in as many games, Pakistan will be keen on completing a series sweep when they face Australia in the third and final Twenty20 International at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

After the 'car crash' in the first outing in Abu Dhabi where they bowled out for 89 chasing 156, Australia were a lot better in the second as they ran the hosts close but it wasn't enough to avoid Pakistan from clinching another T20I series win - their 10th successive in the shortest format of the game.

While the bowlers have done a good job, it is the batting that has let Australia down massively. D'Arcy Short, Aaron Finch and Chris Lynn could only manage 12 runs between them and while Mitchell Marsh did spend some time in the middle, a 23-ball 21 in a run chase wasn't ideal as the visitors found themselves tottering at 73/6 facing yet another sub-100 score. That they got close to the Pakistan total was down to Glenn Maxwell's 37-ball 52. Coming in at No.5, he kept Australia in the game all through falling in the last over of the chase with the side needing 23 runs to win.

Things haven't quite gone Australia's way on the tour to UAE since they miraculously saved the first Test in Dubai. As they find themselves facing the prospect of a 3-0 whitewash, the Finch-led unit will desperately hope for their batsmen to good come the third T20I.

For starters, the misfiring top-order will need to get their act together. Finch, Short and Lynn are all big names in the T20 circuit but have just not been able to get themselves in. Batting second both times has also not helped but knowing a lot rests on their shoulders they just can't afford to have off days. Marsh too might want to show off some of his big-hitting prowess while Alex Carey's scores of 1 & 1 so far in the series is definitely a point of concern.

Amidst all the batting woes Maxwell's return to form might have given some relief to Australia's pains but he will need somebody to stand up with him if the visitors are to avoid a series sweep.

The bowling though has been top notch by the Australians. They have restricted the hosts to a par total both times with Billy Stanlake, Andrew Tye and Nathan Coulter-Nile all doing their bit. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa hasn't been amongst the wickets but has kept the runs down in both games. Coulter-Nile has also been impressive with the bat, and that bodes well for Australia. Now for the rest of the batsmen to show the same discipline.

Pakistan, on the other hand, have most boxes ticked. They are the No.1 side in the T20I format and they have played like one. The biggest plus for them in this series has been Imad Wasim's exceptional comeback. The left-arm spinner who predominantly bowls in the Power Play has been a revelation so far. He celebrated his return to international cricket after almost a year in the first game picking up 3/20 and then backed it up with another clinical show in the second T20I returning stunning figures of 4-1-8-1.

The likes of Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shadab Khan have all done exceedingly well and have at no stage allowed Australia to get a hold of the game. Even while Maxwell was going hammer and tongs the other day, none of the Pakistani bowlers panicked making sure they did not err in length.

The batting, however, has been a bit of a concern for the Sarfraz Ahmed-led unit. While Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez have made major contributions in both games none of the other batsmen have found any form whatsoever. If Australia can get the duo out early, they can harbour hopes of restricting Pakistan to an even lesser total.

It will be down to the experienced hands in Shoaib Malik and Ahmed to guide the middle-order should the top-order fail to fire.

It is expected to be yet another hot and dry day in Dubai on Sunday though some showers are predicted. The surface is expected to take turn from the outset and the quicks too will get assistance owing to the two-paced nature of the Dubai pitch.

Squads

Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Asif Ali, Hassan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Babar Azam, Sahibzada Farhan, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Waqas Maqsood, Usman Khan Shinwari, Hussain Talat, Imad Wasim, Fakhar Zaman

Australia: Aaron Finch, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Darcy Short, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Mitch Starc, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa

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Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 England 4366 104
4 South Africa 3177 102
5 Australia 3672 102
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 10071 258
see more