Pakistan v Australia: First T20I Preview

Cricket ball sits on pitch

Jonhenry previews the first T20 international between Pakistan and Australia taking place on the 24th of October. 

The two sides should be reasonably familiar with one another, having met in a T20I tri-series in Zimbabwe in June, when Pakistan beat Australia in the final.

Australia continue to experiment with T20I combinations - and have named a squad with a number of changes from their last outing in the format.

Pakistan v Australia
Wednesday, 24 October
Sheikh Zayed International Stadium
Abu Dhabi

To Win Match
Pakistan 82/100
Tie 35/1
Australia 21/20

Pakistan have not recalled out-of-sorts seamer Mohammad Amir for the shortest format of the game, choosing instead to offer an extended run in the squad to young quick Shaheen Afridi. Pakistan have also called up veteran left-armer Waqas Maqsood, who could be in line to make his international debut at the age of 32.

Batsman Sahibzada Farhan is the only other uncapped player in a side anchored by veteran all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. Pakistan will look to opener Fakhar Zaman and middle-order prodigy Babar Azam to provide the attacking impetus with willow in hand.

Asif Ali was signed to the Mzansi Super League last week, in a shrewd buy from the Cape Town Blitz. The lower-order batsman has proven himself to be one of the best finishers in the Pakistan Super League and has started to translate his promise onto the international stage as well.

Spin-bowling all-rounder Imad Wasim has been recalled with Shadab Khan's fitness in question. Shadab is in the squad, but missed out on the Tests through injury and might not be match fit for the opening game of this series.

Australia's selection process might be questioned if the squad they have cobbled together to face Pakistan misfires. The group is a mixture of players who have established themselves in other formats, like Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon, and T20I specialists like D'Arcy Short and Chris Lynn.

The selection of Siddle as cover for Mitchell Starc has raised some eyebrows, as it comes at the expense of young seamer Jhye Richardson, who looked to be staking a claim for a place in the Australia T20I squad after a good start to his career in this format.

Despite the presence of Starc in the squad, much will be expected of T20I journeymen Nathan Coulter-Nile and Andrew Tye and lanky fast bowler Billy Stanlake.

The squad is jam packed with all-rounders and captain Aaron Finch should not lack options with the ball. Finch's vice-captain Mitchell Marsh is one of them and he could play his first T20I in over two years. Marsh was disappointing in the middle-order during the Test series, but has generally proven himself more accomplished with the bat in white-ball cricket.

There is no room in the Australia squad for either Marcus Stoinis or Travis Head, with Glenn Maxwell and Ben McDermott's power preferred by Justin Langer, who heads the T20I selection panel.

Verdict: Pakistan 82/100
Pakistan should have the edge due to their familiarity with conditions as well as one another.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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