After six matches in the T20I Tri-Series, Australia and Pakistan are left fighting it out for the top honours. With both sides having defeated Zimbabwe and shared the spoils in their two matches played in the group stage, we are in for a scintillating finish to the series. The final will be played at Harare Sports Club in Harare on Sunday, July 8th.
It was a summer of contrasting fortunes for Australia. While the T20I side accounted itself well in the Trans-Tasman Tri-Series down under, the Test side didn’t cover itself in glory in South Africa. This is a very good chance for the Aussie side to win back the hearts of the supporters, but can they do it? The league stage saw them pick three wins out of four. While the wins against Zimbabwe and Pakistan in the first-leg were routine, the loss to Pakistan in the second-leg and the win against Zimbabwe in the last league game were under par.
The problem for Australia has been that their captain Aaron Finch has been exceptional with the bat at the top of the order. That has given them control, but has also exposed their brittle middle-order that has failed to live up to expectations. Bowling, though, has been effective with Andrew Tye (12 wickets) and Billy Stanlake (seven wickets) making sure that the opponent scores were never beyond reach.
They are the top-ranked side in the world and Pakistan have shown just why they are so good in this format. Though they started the tournament sedately, losing to Australia and the pace of Billy Stanlake, the ‘men in green’ improved through the tournament. With the bat, it is the performance of Fakhar Zaman at the top that has given them the key to competitive scores. Asif Ali in the middle-order and Hussain Talat at one down have been impressive, making sure that the initiative is not lost.
Bowling remains Pakistan’s strong suit, as has been the case over the years. While Mohammad Amir has just got into form, the young Shaheen Shah Afridi has been brilliant in the lone game he played. With Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan adding value with their spin, Pakistan look like a well-knit unit ready to pounce.
- Pakistan and Australia have won one game each in this tournament.
- Pakistan have won 22 of their last 26 T20Is.
- Pakistan have won nine of the ten T20Is played at this venue.
- Australia have won eight of their last 10 T20Is.
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