AUS v PAK

Pakistan’s T20 Crown-Slipping After Series Loss To Australia

A series that was dominated by the hosts, Australia claimed a 2-0 series victory over a misfiring-Pakistan who didn’t get anywhere near their best throughout the three games. Had it not been for the wet weather in Sydney, the outcome would’ve most likely resulted in a series-whitewash in favor of the Aussies.

Traveling in the complete-opposite direction of each other, Australia’s epic-T20 run in 2019 has resulted in them shooting up the rankings, Pakistan on the other hand appears to be hanging by a thread at the top of the T20 chart after a couple of recent-stumbles in this format. Australia’s dominance at home against both Sri Lanka and Pakistan sees them sitting second in the ICC T20 International rankings, updated just yesterday. The dominance shown by Australia’s bowling attack and top order throughout the two series has definitively set the standard leading up to the ICC World Twenty20 next year, and by the looks of things they won’t be having any problems against both Sri Lanka and Pakistan. All in all, it was a successful, beneficial and rewarding start to Australia’s summer of cricket.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Pakistan who came into the series as the hottest team in the world when it comes to the shortest format. The rankings don’t lie, however they don’t exactly tell the full story either. Ranked No. 1 coming into the series, Pakistan’s form guide wasn’t exactly appealing despite sitting at the top with the crown. Their last seven games have resulted in 6 losses, and some of their key players have started to struggle with a lack of output putting more pressure on the likes of Babar Azam and Imad Wasim. The 3-0 series loss to Sri Lanka was a huge blow for them mentally, they headed to Australia having lost to a side ranked outside the top 6 teams in T20I cricket.

Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal during the second Twenty20 match between Australia and Pakistan at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on November 5, 2019. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

They’ve experimented with a variety of options in T20 Internationals this year, both Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad were selected for the series against Sri Lanka. The overall outcome was a failure, Shehzad scored just 17 runs in two games while Umar Akmal was dismissed for 0 twice. To make matters worse for the experienced-Akmal, they were both first-ball ducks! Both individuals return to the national side was short-lived, an area where Pakistan may not choose to venture again in the future. Even Haris Sohail who replaced Shehzad in the third T20I against Sri Lanka has followed in the footsteps of the dumped-pair, struggling to stay at the crease against Australia. Scores of 4, 6 & 8 simply aren’t good enough batting at No. 3 at this level, he along with Fakhar Zaman may struggle to hold his spot in the T20 International side. Fakhar Zaman has been on a downward-slope for some time now, and his absence in Perth was a clear indicator of Pakistan’s frustrations. Opening alongside Babar, Fakhar has contributed just 15 runs in his past 5 innings. An average that once pushed 60 now sits at 22.90, where did it all go wrong for Fakhar?

There’s been some hiccups along the way for Pakistan in 2019, and the bumpy road doesn’t look like ending with the test series against Australia on the horizon as well. They should see this as an opportunity to redeem themselves, restore some pride in the flag they’re representing. Reflecting on their 2-0 series defeat in the T20’s, it was apparent that Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed did their utmost to keep Pakistan in the game with some scoreboard-respectability. The bowlers didn’t particularly have any impact either due to the lack of runs on the board, that’s not dismissing the amount of talent they have with Mohammad Amir and Shadab Khan featuring prominently in that list.

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