Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Pakistan need quick turnaround against Australia in Perth with No 1 T20 ranking safe

Visitors look to level series that the Aussies have dominated so far

Babar Azam will be hoping to avoid a series defeat in his first assignment as Pakistan T20 captain. AFP
Babar Azam will be hoping to avoid a series defeat in his first assignment as Pakistan T20 captain. AFP

Pakistan put up a much better effort in the second T20 against Australia but that didn't reflect in the result with the hosts taking a 1-0 lead at Canberra in the three-match series.

Steve Smith hit a majestic 80 not out as Australia chased down 151 with seven wickets and nine balls in hand. Pakistan challenged the rest of the Australian batsmen but Smith provided too daunting a challenge.

The third and final match of the series is in Perth on Friday. The hosts will aim to wrap up a series win while Pakistan will be desperate to register just their second T20 win in 2019 after seven defeats.

No 1 ranking safe

Pakistan – the top-ranked T20 team in the world – faced a real possibility of losing their No 1 status after successive defeats in 2019. However, they are predicted to remain the top-ranked T20 team no matter what happens in the next few days.

Australia needed to win the series 3-0 to overtake Pakistan but that is not going to happen after the washout in the Sydney T20. England are the next closest challengers – 261 points to Pakistan's 272. But according to world body ICC's T20 rankings predictor, even if the Englishmen win their next two T20s against New Zealand and Babar Azam's team lose the Perth match, Pakistan will remain on top at 270 points ahead of the Aussies (269) and England (265).

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 05: Steve Smith of Australia bats during game two of the International Twenty20 series between Australia and Pakistan at Manuka Oval on November 05, 2019 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Steve Smith has been in vintage form. Getty Images

Change in order

Pakistan are relying heavily on the batting of Babar. But they do seem to have found another player who can make an impact. In Canberra, lower order batsman Iftikhar Ahmed hit 62 off just 34 balls with five fours and three sixes. Incredibly, he is yet to be dismissed after six white-ball international matches this year.

The Pakistan management will surely look to make him bat at number four or five – and not six – to get the most out of him. With Australia set to rest pace ace Pat Cummins for the final T20, it should make life a bit easier for the visiting batsmen.

Bench test

The series is on the line, but Pakistan do need to make some changes. Opening batsman Fakhar Zaman surely can't get another chance after his fifth straight single digit score that extended his run to 12 innings without a fifty in T20s. Imam-ul-Haq can't do much worse than Zaman at the top so should be given a chance.

Also, their left-arm heavy attack needs some right-arm flavour. It's the last game of the series so young quicks Mohammed Hasnain and Musa Khan will be eager to get an opportunity.

Updated: November 7, 2019 05:25 PM

SHARE

SHARE

Editor's Picks