We head into this third & final T20 match in Dubai being nothing more than a dead rubber after Pakistan wrapped up the series on Friday. Despite a rampaging-Glenn Maxwell at the crease for the tourists, the hosts were able to hold their nerve as they roped in the Aussies 11 runs short of levelling the series.
Dominant showings from Imad Wasim with the ball and Babar Azam with the bat in this series have given Pakistan a leg up over their opponents so far, Australia just haven’t been able to match them at all. It’s an ideal outcome for Pakistan who has managed to win the test series 1-0 after Australia fought valiantly to draw the first match, and now they’ve wrapped up the T20I series which should give them further confidence going forward. As mentioned above, Babar Azam played a significant part in this series win kicking things off in Abu Dhabi with an unbeaten 68, following up that performance with a cool-headed 45 which was enough to seal the deal for Pakistan. Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez hasn’t had a bad run with the bat himself, the 38-year-old continuing to prove that he has plenty still to offer at International level. If Babar Azam has been Pakistan’s best batsman so far in this T20 series, than Hafeez must come in a close second with scores of 39 & 40.
They haven’t exactly seen the best of Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali and Hussain Talat who was left out for Shoaib Malik in the last match, so in their eyes there’d still be plenty of room for improvement in this format. Since his breakout tour of Zimbabwe, Fakhar Zaman has been somewhat-underwhelming in ODI and now T20I cricket. The 28-year-old proved to be a brilliant inclusion for the second test in Abu Dhabi where he scored 94 & 66 on debut, now he just needs to make sure he doesn’t lose his appetite for white ball cricket. Hats off to Imad Wasim, this series had Shadab Khan’s name written all over it, but it has been the 29-year-old who has really given Australia a hard time with his slow left-armers. Wasim has now picked up back-to-back man of the match awards after rattling the Aussies top order with figures of 3/20 in Abu Dhabi, backing it up with an extremely-tight spell of 1/8 off his four overs. Leggy Shadab Khan has picked up three wickets himself, but Wasim has been on another level compared to the rest of the bowling attack.
I guess the main positive to take out of the last match for Australia is that they didn’t have another disastrous batting collapse, however they still stumbled in some pretty crucial moments in the game. If it wasn’t for some hard-hitting from dynamic all-round cricketer Glenn Maxwell, Australia may well have been dismantled a lot easier & earlier than anticipated. Amongst some pretty average batting, Western Australian quick Nathan Coulter-Nile has provided some form of scoring outlet in the lower order for Australia which says a lot about how they’ve performed in this series. Coulter-Nile struck 6 boundaries in his 34 in Abu Dhabi and was again required in Dubai where he crunched three sixes over the rope in his brisk-27. Australia’s top order has been a major concern in the series so far, skipper Aaron Finch has struggled-immensely after a decent stint at the top of the order in the test series which has contributed to the team’s woes, but he’s not alone. Brought into the side as T20 specialists, both D’Arcy Short and Chris Lynn haven’t looked anything like themselves back home playing in the BBL. Vice-captain and wicketkeeper Alex Carey may just be the most disappointing of the lot, he’s scored just two runs in two matches and looks out of place down the order.
Nothing has gone to plan for Australia with the bat in this series apart from a Maxwell half century, they need to show something in this final match of the series. With the batting failing to produce, the bowlers haven’t done much wrong given the situation they’ve been put in. Fast bowler Billy Stanlake has easily been Australia’s best bowler with five wickets to his name in the series, both Andrew Tye and Nathan Coulter-Nile have had one decent outing each. The fast bowling trio have picked up 11 wickets between them which isn’t too bad at all, they just need more runs to play with. Despite his questionable performances with the willow, D’Arcy Short’s part-time chinaman’s have been more than handy claiming a wicket in each match. The Aussies are desperate to walk away from this tour of the U.A.E. with at least one win to their name, but it’s not going to come easy.
Given this match is a dead rubber, Pakistan might opt to experiment with some of their bench players. Hussain Talat is likely to return to the side along with Sahibzada Farhan who could also slot into Pakistan’s top order. Whether they decide to give one or both of Usman Khan and Waqas Maqsood a game is uncertain, although Khan would be the likeliest inclusion given he featured in the T20 tri-series in Zimbabwe earlier this year.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Pakistan | 3rd T20I | Dubai
- Imad Wasim
- Shoaib Malik
- Usman Khan
- Shadab Khan
- Mohammad Hafeez
Wildcard pick – Sahibzada Farhan
Top 5 fantasy picks | Australia | 3rd T20I | Dubai
- Nathan Coulter-Nile
- Glenn Maxwell
- Chris Lynn
- Billy Stanlake
- Aaron Finch
Wildcard pick – Alex Carey
Pakistan (possible) – 1. Babar Azam 2. Fakhar Zaman/Sahibzada Farhan 3. Mohammad Hafeez 4. Shoaib Malik 5. Asif Ali/Hussain Talat 6. Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk) 7. Faheem Ashraf 8. Imad Wasim 9. Shadab Khan 10. Hasan Ali/Usman Khan 11. Shaheen Shah Afridi/Waqas Maqsood.
Australia (possible) – 1. D’Arcy Short 2. Aaron Finch © 3. Chris Lynn 4. Mitchell Marsh 5. Glenn Maxwell 6. Alex Carey (wk) 7. Ben McDermott/Ashton Agar 8. Nathan Coulter-Nile 9. Andrew Tye 10. Adam Zampa 11. Billy Stanlake.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.