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Just over 24 hours have elapsed since Australia completed a whitewash over Sri Lanka and they are set to face yet another Asian side, a little more tougher, in an upcoming T20 series. Australia's win over Sri Lanka was a rather one-sided affair, but Pakistan are expected to present a tougher challenge to the hosts. The first game of the three-match series is to be played at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney on 3rd November. Pakistan did pretty well in the warm-up contest against Cricket Australia XI and their match against Australia is likely to be a cracker of a contest.
For the Australians, David Warner has been playing at a different level altogether. He smashed a fifty in each of the three innings he played against Sri Lanka and could not be dismissed even once. Stopping him from scoring could prove to be a colossal task even for Pakistan's bowlers.
While it is difficult to tell what all things the Australians learned from their campaign against the Sri Lankan, they certainly would have got plenty of confidence from the manner they won the series. Steven Smith and David Warner made a spectacular comeback to the T20 International scene will be looking to carry on with it. Although their batting wasn't tested as much by the Sri Lankan bowlers, the Aussies passed with flying colors.
Australian bowlers, not unlike their batsmen, were spectacular as well. Mitchell Starc, Patrick Cummins, and Kane Richardson performed to perfection in the series and Billy Stanlake played a brilliant second-fiddle when Mitchell Starc decided to take a leave. The two spinners, Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa, proved to be handful even on the surfaces that were not conducive to spin bowling. With Glenn Maxwell no longer available in the middle order, the Aussie middle-order looks a little thin on experience and the likes of Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner, and Alex Carey would have to play with more responsibility.
Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steven Smith, Ben McDermott, AJ Turner, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, KW Richardson, Adam Zampa.
Although Pakistan performed exceedingly well in their tour game, the memories of losing 3-0 to Sri Lanka will still be fresh in their minds. They were swatted away with relative ease by Sri Lanka despite having the home advantage. Following that, Pakistan made a massive change to their personnel by dropping Sarfaraz Ahmed and making Babar Azam the captain of the side.
Babar Azam has been in splendid touch since the beginning of this year and will have to play a role similar to what David Warner played for the Australians against Sri Lanka. Fakhar Zaman also showed some superb signs as he played a useful hand against CA XI in the only tour game. Pakistan have an apparent weakness of lack of experience in the middle-order and they'll be hoping that the exuberance of Mohammad Rizwan, Haris Sohail, and Asif Ali takes care of potent Autralian bowling attack.
Pakistan have always been known for their bowling prowess and it is not going to be any different this time around as well. The likes of Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, and Mohammad Irfan will shoulder the load for the pace bowling whereas Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan will take of spin-attack. Even though they lack a nifty sixth bowling option, the certainly have the five bowlers who can be more than handful on their day.
F Zaman, Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, SI Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan.
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With both the teams coming off remarkable wins in their previous contest, Australia over Sri Lanka and Pakistan over CA XI, the upcoming contest is expected to go down to the wire. Both the sides have superb pace attack that can wreak havoc on even the best in the business on its day. While both the sides have some things in common, the difference is what will decide the fate of the upcoming match. Australia are playing at their home ground and have more experienced players in their playing eleven. Considering that as well as the form they were in against the Sri Lankans, they are firm favorties to emerge on top in the first match of the series.
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