Rain saved Pakistan in the first T20I of the series between Australia and Pakistan at Sydney. Pakistan were staring at certain defeat as Australia, at 41-0 in 3.1 overs, were racing towards the revised target of 119 in 15 overs. However, persistent rain resulted in the match being called off and the 3-match series remains 0-0.
However, Australia will still be more confident of the two sides when they meet in the 2nd match of the series at Canberra on November 5. Their bowling looks really good with fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Kane Richardson among the wickets straightaway. Then there is Pat Cummins, the best fast bowler in the world right now who had a terrific spell of 0-15 in 3 overs in the first match. Spinner Ashton Agar also looks good.
Australia’s batting looks dangerous with captain Aaron Finch, who was unbeaten on a scintillating 16-ball 37 in the first T20I, leading from the front. Even though Glen Maxwell has taken a break from cricket at present, Australia has enough arsenals in their batting still. David Warner, Steven Smith, Ashton Turner and Alex Carey may be the ones to watch out for in the 2nd T20I.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is heavily dependent on captain Babar Azam to do the bulk of the scoring for the team. Azam looked in fine touch in the previous game and scored a fluent 59. However, he would expect the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail and Asif Ali to play more responsibly. Wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan played a good hand. But despite that, Pakistan’s batting looks a tad fragile.
Their bowling, on paper looks good. But the way Aaron Finch took Mohammad Irfan apart in the 1st match should be a worrying sign for Pakistan. Mohammad Amir is a good option and may be useful on this bouncy pitch. Wahab Riaz too might trouble the batsmen. However, Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan’s spin bowling might be the deciding factor.
Match prediction: Australia vs Pakistan 2nd T20I
This will be the first T20I played at the Manuka Oval in Canberra – the venue for the 2nd T20I between Pakistan and Australia. There have been 18 ODIs played on this ground so far and it has turned out to be a paradise for batsmen with scores of 320-plus achieved as many as 7 times. The highest ODI total on this ground is 411-4 by South Africa against the West Indies in the 2015 ICC World Cup.
The pitch for the T20I between Australia and Pakistan should be a hard one with the ball coming nicely on to the bat. The team batting first should achieve a total in excess of 180. If Australia bats first, they may breach the 200-run mark as well. The combined total for this match is expected to be around 350-360.
Australia has the home advantage and has all bases covered. They look much stronger than Pakistan who look a little out of sorts. Australia should hence be the winners of this match.