Perth to decide series, hosts lead 1-0
After an abandoned first match in Sydney, the Aussies stormed home in Canberra to claim victory in the second game of the series by 7 wickets over Pakistan. If the Aussies do happen to win, it will be a fulfilled-T20I period for them having won 5/6 games. Australia’s No. 3 Steve Smith showed his class with the bat in Canberra with a match-winning 80 not out as he comprehensively-outclassed the Pakistani bowlers. It’s already been confirmed that Pat Cummins won’t make the trip to Perth for the final T20 International, instead he’ll be rested ahead of the upcoming test series against Pakistan. One of Sean Abbott or Billy Stanlake is set to take Cummins place in the XI, Perth is generally renowned for it’s pace & bounce which could work in big-Billy’s favor. The in-form David Warner once again looked extremely threatening before he was cleaned up by Mohammad Amir, a quick-fire 20 off 11 balls got the Aussies innings off to a flashy start. The selectors might be wanting to see a bit more of Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner and even Alex Carey before the series concludes, the only problem is that they’ve been starved of opportunities due to the dominance of their top order. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either, a firing top order is crucial in this format. Pakistan’s batsmen haven’t taken a backward step against opposition leg-spinner Adam Zampa, he’s yet to take a wicket in the series and seems to be getting ‘targeted’ by the visitors. Off-spinner Ashton Agar appears to be doing most of the damage out of the two spinners in this series.
Back-to-back fifties for Pakistan skipper Babar Azam in Sydney & Canberra must be extremely promising signs for the team, some of his fellow-batsmen on the other hand haven’t been so impressive. Despite making runs in the tour game against the CA XI prior to the series, Fakhar Zaman’s rapid-decline in form has continued against Australia with scores of 0 & 2. Batting at No. 3 this series, Haris Sohail hasn’t been much better with just 10 runs in two games. One positive for Pakistan is that they’ve got an aggressive middle-lower order, Iftikhar Ahmed’s unbeaten-62 in Canberra and Mohammad Rizwan’s 31 in Sydney is proof of that. Asif Ali is also a very capable striker of the ball, he also hasn’t clicked into gear yet, sitting in the same boat as Zaman and Sohail. With Imam-ul-Haq sitting on the bench for the tourists, all of a sudden Fakhar Zaman’s spot in the XI looks eerily-uncertain for this final game. Perhaps Pakistan might be able to have an impact with the ball in Perth, Mohammad Irfan’s height may be key depending on how the surface reacts. Do Pakistan rotate bowlers? Well, Mohammad Hasnain and Usman Qadir are two candidates who might be given an opportunity. Given Qadir’s role for the Perth Scorchers in the BBL last season, he should definitely be taken into consideration. Mohammad Amir’s lively-pace should also be a factor in Perth tomorrow. Pakistan must find a way to stop Australia’s two juggernauts, Warner and Smith. The game will be quickly out of their reach if they let one of them off the hook again like in Canberra.
TOP 5 FANTASY PICKS – 3rd T20I, Perth
- Steve Smith
- David Warner
- Mitchell Starc
- Ashton Agar
- Aaron Finch
Wildcard pick – Ashton Turner
- Babar Azam
- Mohammad Amir
- Mohammad Rizwan
- Iftikhar Ahmed
- Imad Wasim
Wildcard pick – Asif Ali
PREDICTED TEAM XI’S
Australia (possible) – 1. David Warner 2. Aaron Finch (c) 3. Steve Smith 4. Ben McDermott 5. Ashton Turner 6. Alex Carey (wk) 7. Ashton Agar 8. Mitchell Starc 9. Kane Richardson 10. Sean Abbott/Billy Stanlake 11. Adam Zampa.
Pakistan (possible) – 1. Babar Azam (c) 2. Fakhar Zaman/Imam-ul-Haq 3. Haris Sohail 4. Mohammad Rizwan (wk) 5. Iftikhar Ahmed 6. Asif Ali 7. Imad Wasim 8. Wahab Riaz/Mohammad Hasnain 9. Shadab Khan/Usman Qadir 10. Mohammad Amir 11. Mohammad Irfan.
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.