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Australia fought hard against Pakistan in the test series but was eventually found wanting. Their batting was simply not good enough, especially against Mohammad Abbas. The change in format allows Australia to get in some of its T20 specialists who will be fresh and wanting to have another crack at Pakistan. Australia has some very exciting players as a part of the white ball format, most of whom have made their name with performances in the Big Bash League.
Pakistan may not appear to the most modern of cricketing sides on occasion but it is the number one ranked side in international T20 cricket. The victory in the second test would have given the team a massive boost and we hope to see them play freely once more.
Both sides have a good chance of winning this series. The first match of a three-match series is usually crucial so both teams will come hard at each other.
Pakistan has been a very good T20 side for most of the sport’s existence even though they only recently embraced franchise style T20 cricket a few years back. There are plenty of players to look out for in this upcoming series.
The first in that list has to be Fakhar Zaman. After a poor Asia Cup, Fakhar started his test career in an impressive fashion. The left-handed opening batsmen will be crucial in getting his team off to a good start and ensuring they end up with a good total.
Mohammad Hafeez is making a comeback into the side and this may be a tougher test than his return to the longest format. Hafeez likes to take a bit of time before opening out and so his batting can sometimes put a bit of pressure on the other batsmen.
That being said, Hafeez has come back with a vengeance and wants to prove he is good enough for all formats. We don’t think he will struggle in the docile UAE conditions.
The other two batsmen that will be at the forefront of the Pakistan planning will be Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik. Both these two players are rocks for the Pakistan side in the white ball formats. Malik had a good Asia Cup and Babar Azam also scored 99 runs in the last test to be in good form.
These two will be responsible for ensuring Pakistan lays a stable platform that it can capitalize on later. Providing the power in the Pakistan T20 side will be Sarfaraz Ahmed and Asif Ali. Sarfaraz has shown the tendency to back his aggressive self when pushed to the wall while Asif Ali seems to know no other way.
They are both capable of finding gaps in the field and in the case of Asif, clearing it with regularity. With all-rounders such as Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, and Shadab Khan in the side as well, Pakistan is not going to be lacking in the batting department.
The only thing they may want is a bit more power up the order where they are too dependent on Fakhar Zaman.
Pakistan’s bowling is always good and that is the case here. Usman Khan and Shaheen Afridi are two genuine quicks while Faheem Shraf, Shadab Khan, and Imad Wasim will be the all-rounders/spinners. Hasan Ali is the enforcer of the side coming in to pick up wickets whenever needed.
We think this Pakistan side can be put under pressure because its bowling is not always the most effective. This same attack struggled against Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and India in the Asia Cup. They could go the distance against Australia as well.
F Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, SI Wasim, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi.
We are very excited to see what Australia’s T20 side can achieve in UAE. It has players that are among the most exciting in this format of the game. Darcy Short, Aaron Finch, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, and Alex Carey make for a very dangerous batting order.
Each and every batsman in this side is filled with power and has the capability to hit sixes at will. If T20 were just a game of pure power, then this Australian side would have every other side in the world beat.
The conditions that the players will face, though, are quite different from Australia.
Darcy Short warmed up with a nice 68 against UAE and even though Aaron Finch missed out, he has had enough time in the middle over here for it to not matter.
Chris Lynn is our favorite player to look out for. He has played the PSL in the past and knows these conditions. He is also on a long and prolonged comeback from injury and is finally resembling the player he was a couple of years ago.
If Lynn can get his eye in then it will be raining sixes at the Sheikh Zayed stadium.
Glenn Maxwell and Ben McDermott are both very good against spin. They could be the key for Australia if the surface starts to hold or the side loses a few wickets. Similarly, Alex Carey to follow these two is very good at playing the horizontal bat shots and will make life difficult for the spinners.
The bowling lineup for Australia is also very good. Ashton Agar and Adam Zaqmpa will be the spinners ion the eleven. They are both T20 journeymen and know exactly what to bowl in different situations.
The Pakistani batsmen will come hard at these two and so how they cope will be very important for Australia. Coulter-Nile is a death overs specialist, Billy Stanlake will bring the pace and fury, while AJ Tye will hope to translate his incredible T20 franchise cricket success on to the international arena.
Pakistan is going to have its hands full scoring runs against this bowling attack which is also going to be supported by an incredible fielding side. The balance and power that Australia possess are just too hard to look past.
Aaron Finch, D'Arcy Short, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, AJ Tye, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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Abu Dhabi has seen so much cricket in the last few months that it is a wonder the square still has any life in it. We expect to see a slow surface with nothing in it for the bowlers. The batsmen will struggle to time the ball and making use of the new ball is going to be important.
Expect to see a score of around 170-180 being seen as par.
Pakistan is playing in home conditions and is going to be the favorite but Australia has too much T20 talent in its side to be ignored. At a rate of 2.01 (at the time of writing), Australia is the side to back in our opinion. Any one of its batsmen could turn the game on its head and the bowling attack has all bases covered as well.
Back Australia to win.
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