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Australia seek to stretch their unbeaten run after the rain-truncated game
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Australia seek to stretch their unbeaten run after the rain-truncated game

Pakistan were straggling behind Australia in the last game as Aaron Finch and David Warner were onrushing towards the untaxing revised total of 119 before the cloudburst came to visitors' rescue. 

There was a stark contrast between Pakistan and Australia start to the innings; the former lacked the firepower and batted with caution while the latter looked unsparing - especially the way they tore apart Mohammad Irfan's wretched bowling display as he went for 31 in his two overs in the rain-truncated contest.

Mohammad Amir and Irfan didn't get discernable lateral movement and pitched by and large on the shorter side around middle and leg stump to which the Australian openers latched onto by walloping huge sixes for fun. 

Irfan didn't bowl the nagging lines and concerns continue to grow around Amir's drop in pace and swing as the lack of these potent weapons from his armoury make him a run of the mill speedster.

The major area of concern for the green shirts was their inability to clear boundary ropes consistently. Babar Azam played the anchor role and struck a vital fifty but even he struggled to hit meaty blows in the passage of play after the rain abatement. As a captain and number one ranked batsman, it is imperative for the new skipper to accelerate and pace his innings faster to set the tone upfront.

Mohammad Rizwan showed marvellous intent through his quick running between the wickets however he couldn't flex his biceps in the curtailed death overs.

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are not going to serve many juicy deliveries and give away easy scoring opportunities to pounce on and so it demands Pakistan batsmen to use improvisation and the pace to beat the infield. 

Taking young players and not giving them a chance to showcase their skills defeats the purpose. Pakistan may rest one of the seasoned pacers so anyone from the likes of Mohammad Hasnain, Muhammad Musa and Usman Qadir could get an opportunity. 

Misbah-ul-Haq took a bold move by selecting inexperienced players who have the raw talent but the entire point is moot if they don't get a game in the remaining two matches.

Since the speedsters couldn't pick quick wickets and given the ease by which the smoking opening pair decimated pace battery - before that they thrashed Sri Lanka in a similar fashion - it might be wise to include both leg spinners and put the hosts on a trial by spin. Taking the pace off the ball may well suffocate the openers who thrive on pace.

Australia will come hard as usual and remain ruthless as they set eyes on the next year's T20 World Cup. They were clinical against Sri Lanka and the top three batsmen played a pivotal role in the clean sweep, making it all the more important for Pakistan to up the ante if they want to overpower the mighty hosts.

Another loss would leave no doubts about Pakistan's rapid downward slide in the shortest format and will put the number one ranking in jeopardy. On the other hand, a free-spirited show could halt the T20 juggernaut - that is Australia at the moment - and keep the series engrossing. Not to mention, a win will enhance the visitors' reputation and add meaning to the ranking position.

Squads

Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Imam-ul-Haq, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz

Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Adam Zampa, D'Arcy Short

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