Pakistan Aim At Ending Australia Series On Winning Note
LAHORE – After winning the ODI series 2-1, Pakistan are now aiming at ending the Australia series on a winning note when they face the visiting team in a one-off T20I here at the Gaddafi Stadium today (Tuesday).
As Australia cricket team toured Pakistan after 20 years, it is a good omen for future of Pakistan cricket and will help in the revival of international cricket in the country. After the tour of Australia, the teams of West Indies, England and New Zealand are also coming to play cricket at the soil of Pakistan.
Australia all-rounder Ashton Agar and wicketkeeper batter Josh Inglis are likely to play the one-off T20I against Pakistan as they have returned negative COVID-19 tests. But despite this, Pakistan are confident to give their best against the Aussies and end the series on a winning note.
The visiting side though started their tour with a gritty 1-0 victory in the Test series yet Pakistan bounced back strongly in the ODIs, registering their first bilateral series win over the Kangaroos in a staggering two decades.
And now, as the home side gears up for the only T20I at Gaddafi Stadium, the memories of their last face-off in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 semifinal are still fresh, despite the next edition being just six-and-a-half months away.
The visitors have a young and new-look squad as only three of their winning T20 World Cup XI are available to take the field. The most experienced among them is skipper Aaron Finch while Travis Head and Ben McDermott’s recent form lends plenty of positivity to the side, with Marcus Stoinis expected to shoulder additional responsibility in the middle order in absence of Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh. Adam Zampa, the sixth-ranked T20I bowler, can prove to be a dark horse for the hosts.
Pakistan have been in red-hot T20I form of late, having swept aside Bangladesh and West Indies 3-0 each post the T20 World Cup. Skipper Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan, the top-two ranked batters in ICC T20I Rankings, form the backbone of the line-up that features seasoned power-hitters in Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah. Shaheen Afridi leads the bowling unit that includes Haris Rauf and spin-bowler Shadab Khan.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam said: “You need confidence after losing the first game. The credit goes to the players as they took responsibility and showed good efforts with the ball and the bat. There is pressure but you should back your game. I try to take most of the pressure and back my boys.”
Australia captain Aaron Finch said: “I thought there were a lot more positives than negatives (in the ODI series). It was just that we were on the receiving end of a couple of great knocks from Babar and Imam. It’s been amazing to play here in Pakistan in front of some great fans. They’ve been supportive of great cricket regardless of whether it’s Australia playing well or Pakistan. So we’re very thankful for that.”
PAKISTAN: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Asif Afridi, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir.
AUSTRALIA: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa.