Following an eventful outing in Sydney where Pakistan were rescued by incessant showers, the two T20I giants now head to Canberra for the 2nd clash of the series. Australia were well on their way to securing a 1-0 lead in the series before the heavens opened up at the worst possible time for the host team. They needed to bat out 5 overs to allow DLS to infer a result out of the match but were denied any sort of game-play after 3.1 overs.
The Australian skipper, Aaron Finch, questioned the bizarre decision to take a 20-minute innings interval after rain had already affected the match. In the end, those ten minutes proved to be way too costly for Australia. They now head into the 2nd game with loads of momentum under their belt but nothing significant as far as overhauling the No.1 T20 side in the world is concerned.
Pakistan had an ordinary outing in the Sydney game. They got off to a torrid commencement when both of their much-cherished southpaws got dismissed in cheap manners to give the Aussies an early sniff. Mohammad Rizwan along with the skipper then began the reconstruction work through calculated counter-punches to peg the hosts back.
The visitors were looking set to put their feet on the throttle in the latter half of the innings when play was disrupted by heavy showers. Upon resumption, Pakistan had lost most of the momentum and were bounded by some excellent death bowling by Australia.
In reply, Australia’s bashing opening pair came out all guns blazing. In fact, David Warner was a mere spectator in the onslaught that ensued from Aaron Finch’s willow. Australian captain took the assault to the returning Mohammad Irfan and hammered him all over the park. Irfan leaked 26 runs in his second over and the game had more or less slipped away from Pakistan’s grasp at that point in time. A rain intervention was a blessing in disguise and saved the Greenshirts from an inevitable defeat.
Going forward, Pakistan have a lot of soul-searching to do if they are to upset this Australian side that looks immensely ominous at home turf. The kind of strokes that Haris Sohail and Fakhar Zaman got out on will become intolerable as the tour progresses. Rizwan played a gutsy knock but his strike rate kept depleting as the innings advanced. Pinch-hitters like Asif Ali and Imad Wasim would need to make consistent contributions down the order to allow Pakistan to maximally utilize the base established by the top-order.
Australia, on the other hand, have been utterly domineering in all four matches they have competed in this home summer, thus far. Under Finch’s captaincy and with the return of their two gun players, it seems like the fiery aspect has been revitalized in the team. The decision to play five frontline bowlers with two of them being genuine spinners is paying off nicely. Ashton Agar has been extremely economical with the ball and perfectly fills up the all-rounder spot in the middle order. Australia might not tinker at all with the combination that has been giving sublime results in this season, so far.
Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Adam Zampa
Babar Azam (c), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Muhhamad Amir, Muhammad Hasnain, Muhammad Irfan, Muhammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, and Wahab Riaz.