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HomeAustraliaZimbabwe T20I Tri-Series: 2nd Match Preview - Australia v Pakistan

Zimbabwe T20I Tri-Series: 2nd Match Preview – Australia v Pakistan

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

Zimbabwe T20 Tri-Series Australia v Pakistan Preview Cricket Blog

Only recently did Australia move down to third in the T20I rankings as a result of India’s thumping 2-0 series in Ireland. But, there is little doubt that the two teams today will be fighting it out in the final later this week.

However, looking at the current FIFA World Cup, anything is possible I guess, but it would be a massive failure if either of these two sides were to miss out on the final, looking at Zimbabwe’s troubles.

Australia are coming off a difficult, winless tour of England, but I still strongly believe that 2018 will be looked back as a positive year. They have the opportunity here to taste some success, which will be Justin Langer’s first as Australia coach. However, it won’t be easy. In England, they were suspect against spin, and in Zimbabwe, they can expect to face a trial against spin, so it’s vital that they don’t afford the kind of luxuries they provided to Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, and even Joe Root.

Pakistan stamped their authority yesterday, pummeling Zimbabwe by 74 runs. As the number ranked T20I side, with eight straight series wins behind their belt, how Pakistan deal with the favouritism tag will be interesting to see. They have shown consistency in this format, but mostly against sides they are expected to beat. Australia will be their toughest test since January when they beat New Zealand 2-1 – since then they have swept aside West Indies, Scotland and Zimbabwe.

Key to an Australia win

How well will Australia handle Pakistan’s spinners?
This is the immediate question that comes to mind, with Australia struggling in their matches in England. What was concerning was their lack of technical and mental nous against spinners who, with all due respect, are not world beaters. This was despite the fact that the pitches were generally very good for batting.
Here, the ball could turn more, and they will be facing better spinners. Rotation of the strike against the spinners is key, and if they can take runs of the seamers, Australia can expect a good score. Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell are particularly important to the cause, given their strong level of T20 experience. Can the likes of D’Arcy Short, who had a tough IPL campaign, Travis Head and Alex Carey also contribute?

Key to a Pakistan win

With conditions yesterday providing some assistance to the spinners, Pakistan took full advantage, with their spinners combining for 5/43 off 8.5 overs to completely blow Zimbabwe away. Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Hafeez and Shadab Khan will be key again today against an Australian side that has its problems against spin.
Also, Pakistan had a bit of a sluggish first ten overs against Zimbabwe, losing three wickets for 78 and running the risk they would finish with a total that didn’t represent the gulf in the class between the two sides. In the end, thanks to Fakhar Zaman, Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali, they got to a fine score of 182/4. 
Against Australia, though, they can expect to be tested a little more, so a good start will be key.

Predicted teams

Australia have won just six of 16 limited overs matches this year, but five came in the Trans-Tasman Tri-Series involving England and Australia in February, where they didn’t lose a match. Can they transfer that form here?
Australia possible XI: 1. Aaron Finch (c), 2. D’Arcy Short, 3. Travis Head, 4. Glenn Maxwell, 5. Marcus Stoinis, 6. Alex Carey (wk), 7. Ashton Agar, 8. Jhye Richardson, 9. Andrew Tye, 10. Billy Stanlake, 11. Mitchell Swepson

For Pakistan, it’s still a little early for them to experiment. After a winning start against Zimbabwe, I think they will stick with the same line up.

Pakistan possible XI: 1. Fakhar Zaman, 2. Mohammad Hafeez, 3. Hussain Talat, 4. Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), 5. Shoaib Malik, 6. Asif Ali, 7. Faheem Ashraf, 8. Shadab Khan, 9. Mohammad Nawaz, 10. Hasan Ali, 11 Usman Khan

Stats and Facts

  • The last meeting between the two teams was in the World T20 in 2016, where Australia won by 21 runs to knock Pakistan out of the tournament.
  • Eight is a good number for Pakistan right now. They have won eight matches and series in a row.
  • Shoaib Malik has been unbeaten in 14 of his last 25 innings.

Prediction

A tough one to predict as both these teams are good T20 units, but with Pakistan having a game under their belt, in conjunction with suitable conditions, I pick them to win in a close match.

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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