Pakistan shocked the cricketing world when they beat Australia in the first twenty-twenty international by sixty-six runs, bowling the Aussies for just eighty-nine runs. By the end of the first powerplay, Australia had already lost six of those wickets, courtesy of comeback-player Imad Wasim’s three wickets and bowling all-rounder Faheem Ashraf’s two wickets.
Ashton Agar and Nathan Coulter-Nile tried to compensate for Australia’s failures with their forty-eight run partnership, but eventually, breakthroughs from Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, and Shadab Khan finished the Australians off. What could only have been described as how captain Aaron Finch puts it, “A car crash,” Australia should consider themselves lucky to receive two more chances to prove their worth in Dubai.
Now, not everything was picture perfect for Pakistan. After a mammoth partnership of eighty-three runs between half-centurion Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez, the Pakistan batting collapsed, seeing the loss of five wickets in the space of ten deliveries. Thanks to Hasan Ali’s three consecutive boundaries off the last over, Pakistan pushed to one fifty-five for eight, and everyone backed the star-studded Australian line-up to chase it down.
Migrating from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, Australia may feel a bit more comfortable, since the conditions in Dubai will be better suited for batting. This might re-assure Australia to field an unchanged side despite a massively embarrassing loss last time around. However, as Pakistani commentator Ramiz Raja mentioned, the Australians have too many power hitters in the side. There is no one to look for singles, rotate the strike and stabilize the innings. Australia does have vice-captain Mitchell Marsh in the reserves, but Ben McDermott seems very promising and Finch might not be ready to drop him yet.
Although the batting line-up comes with a side of risk, the Australian bowling line-up performed well in the first T20I. Australia probably won’t look to make any changes with the bowling and to pick at middle-order wickets from the Pakistani batsmen.
Pakistan will probably look forward to one change, the inclusion of Shoaib Malik. Pakistan’s most experienced player will most likely return to the lineup after missing the first twenty-twenty international and could replace Hussain Talat or Asif Ali tomorrow. They should not tamper with the bowling line as the spinners, Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan, were outstanding. Shaheen Afridi is extremely promising for the future of Pakistan cricket and Hasan Ali came up with crucial runs, as well as some of his usual wickets as well.
If Pakistan wins tomorrow, Pakistan will have clinched the three-match series with one game to spare. If Australia wins, the series will be leveled at one all, with the third twenty-twenty international being the decider. The match will start at 20:00 (8:00 PM) UAE Time, 21:00 (9:00 PM) PKT, or 12:00 PM Eastern Time. The match will be broadcasted live on PTV Sports in Pakistan, FOX Sports in Australia, and Willow TV in the United States.