World Champions Australia face stiff Pakistan challenge in tour-concluding T20I

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World Champions Australia face stiff Pakistan challenge in tour-concluding T20I. Pic/ICC
World Champions Australia face stiff Pakistan challenge in tour-concluding T20I.Pic/ICC

Lahore, April 5: Pakistan staged a resounding fightback in the ODI series, taking it 2-1 after Australia had won the Test series and white-ball opener; and a passionate home crowd now awaits the requital of the T20 World Cup semi-final defeat in the tour-ending T20I.

After Australia’s gritty 1-0 win in the Test series, Pakistan bounced back strongly in the ODIs, registering their first bilateral series win over the opponents in a staggering two decades.

And now, as the two teams gear up for the final game of the tour – the lone T20I at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium – memories of their last face-off in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 semi-final are still fresh, despite the next edition being just six-and-a-half months away.

Australia’s young, new-look squad means that only three of their winning T20 World Cup XI are available to take the field. The most experienced of the lot, skipper Aaron Finch, has another chance to rediscover his best, after having registered scores of 23, 0 and 0 in the ODI series.

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 could be the x-factor against a star-studded Pakistan line-up.

The hosts’ 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 Mohammed Rizwan, the top-two ranked batters in the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Rankings form the backbone of the line-up that features seasoned power-hitters in Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah.

Shaheen Shah Afridi leads the bowling unit, to go with Haris Rauf’s raw pace and the skilled spin-bowling expertise of Shadab Khan, who could return after injury kept him out of the ODI leg.

Courtesy:ICC

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