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Pakistan’s smooth sail of eight consecutive wins in T20Is and Australia’s losing streak of six limited overs losses – both came to halt with Australia’s resounding victory over Pakistan in the second T20I of the series. The significance of the result can also be highlighted by the fact that it was Pakistan’s second loss in the last thirteen T20Is. Australia will now take on Zimbabwe to power-up their confidence and ensure a place in the final of the series. The match is set to be played at the same venue, Harare Sports Club, on 3rd July. Zimbabwe lost their first match of the series to Pakistan and it is imperative for them to win this match to have a realistic chance for qualification in the final.
Australia would be relieved after getting a much-needed win after a terrible losing spree of six matches. Billy Stanlake was the chief architect of their win as he wrecked Pakistan’s top order with his pace and bounce. He was too quick and the bounce he extracted was too steep for batsmen’s comfort. He picked up four wickets for eight runs in his four overs.
Chasing a paltry total, the pressure on the batsmen was totally opposite to what it was like in England. D'Arcy Short once again got a start but failed to convert it into a big one. Australia got off to a rollicking start with skipper Aaron Finch scoring a swashbuckling half-century. He remained unbeaten on 68 as Australia raced to the total with more than nine overs to spare. While the role of Aaron Finch was important to instill confidence in the side, it were their bowlers who made it possible.
Stanlake was brilliant up front and he got good support from Jhye Richardson who tied one end when Stanlake was bowling with full-throttle at another end. Andrew Tye's variations were handy as he picked up three crucial wickets, though he was a tad too expensive.
Cricket is a game of confidence and momentum and T20 is even more so. Australia's performance against Pakistan must have done worlds of good to their confidence and their game against Zimbabwe may well be another confidence-building outing if their bowlers perform in a similar fashion.
Aaron Finch, D'Arcy Short, TM Head, Glenn Maxwell, Nic Maddinson, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, AJ Tye, Jhye Richardson, Billy Stanlake.
Hoping to take advantage of early moisture in the track, Hamilton Masakadza elected to bowl first after winning the toss and their bowlers proved his decision right as Kyle Jarvis sent Hafeez back in the pavilion. Furthermore, Pakistan didn’t get off to a flying start with just 78 on board with the loss of three wickets at the halfway stage.
Zimbabwe’s bad fortune started when Kyle Jarvis, who was the pick of the bowlers in the first ten overs, got injured while trying to save a boundary. He could not bowl further in the match and won’t be available for the rest of the series. Zimbabwe’s bowling effort went downhill from here as they conceded over a hundred runs in the last ten overs.
Zimbabwe never looked in the chase after they lost Chamu Chibhabha in the first over of their innings and the pace never picked up. The key to chasing high totals is either keeping wickets in the bank or score quickly during the powerplay overs and Zimbabwe did nothing. No doubt that Pakistan’s skills were impressive, but the lack of intent from Zimbabwean batsmen contributed equally to their loss.
Solomon Mire and Musakanda looked to up the scoring rate as they played a few attractive shots but it didn’t last for too long. With Kyle Jarvis out of the series, Zimbabwean bowling looks bleak. Their batting lineup has some experienced players, but the lack of intent and poor batting in the first match would have dented their confidence. Zimbabwe would have to play out of their skins in their next match, otherwise, it would just be a walk in the park for the Australians.
Solomon Mire, Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza, Tarisai Musakanda, Peter Moor, E Chigumbura, Ryan Burl, Tendai Chisoro, C Mpofu, John Nyumbu, Blessing Muzarabani.
We haven't really seen the track changing too much over the course of the game in the two matches in the series. Teams have preferred chasing in the series and we expect the same to happen in this game as well.
Although it didn't make much of a difference to Aaron Finch, the sluggishness in the pitch was clearly visible in the match. It's expected to be another dry and sunny day tomorrow with no to little chances of rain. It is expected to be yet another batting beauty with powerplay being the easiest time to score.
Australia have now got the ball rolling after a ruthless performance today. Zimbabwe, on the other hand, lacked any intent whatsoever in their first game against Pakistan. With Kyle Jarvis added to the list of players missing from the Zimbabwean squad, they are likely to have a tough time ahead. Aussies, on the other hand, put up a polished performance and certainly are a better team. While Cricket is a game of uncertainties, Australia is a better team on paper and expect them to emerge triumphant yet again.