Pakistan have been well below par in the T20I series so far but still find themselves in the series thanks to rain washing out the first game with them on the brink of defeat. Australia have looked by far the better side in the opening two clashes and can cut the gap on top-ranked Pakistan to just one point with a win in the third T20I.
With so much on the line, Babar Azam and Misbah-ul-Haq might stick with what they know best rather than experiment a lot.
Fakhar Zaman: Fakhar’s 2019 refuses to get better and the left-hander has now scored just 50 runs in eight matches. There are calls for his head but Fakhar remains the only destructive top-order batsman in the entire side and should keep his place despite his worrying poor form.
Babar Azam: Yet another game, yet another half-century. Babar has taken his T20I career average to over 50 in this series but the talisman needs a lot more help from his teammates, especially once the fielding restrictions are lifted and he finds it difficult to get quick runs.
Haris Sohail: The left-hander must bat with more responsibility than he has in the previous two games — getting out on two nearly identical and equally needless heaves across the line just a little while after coming onto the crease. For the second time running, Pakistan lost two wickets in two overs during the powerplay due to his brainfades and Haris will not be happy with that.
Mohammad Rizwan: Rizwan nudged the ball around neatly like his usual self but his strike-rate is too slow to be acceptable in T20I cricket. 14 off 16 deliveries meant Pakistan had to play catch up on a pitch where the average winning first-innings score was over 180. He is certain to keep his place behind the stumps but might be demoted further down the order if either Haris or Fakhar click.
Iftikhar Ahmed: Iftikhar announced himself on the international stage with his finest knock to date as he made 62 off just 34 deliveries to take Pakistan to 150 in the second T20I. The ease with which Iftikhar cleared the boundary and the clean nature of his hitting will be particularly pleasing for Babar and co as the Men in Green continue to search for power-hitters at the death. His T20I average now stands at a 105 and the only time he has been dismissed in the format is when he was run-out against Sri Lanka.
Asif Ali: Asif will be bitterly disappointed in the way he has twice found the fielder in the deep when trying to clear the boundary. He is in the side for his ability to up the run-rate in the latter parts of the game but the Islamabad United man just hasn’t been able to bring his domestic prowess onto the international level. Might just stay in the side ahead of Khushdil for another game but this could be his final chance to stay in the side.
Imad Wasim: Imad was surprisingly expensive in the second T20I, giving away 34 runs in his four overs for one wicket, but remains an integral part of the side. His ability to ball in the powerplay means he is a valuable asset for Babar while can also hit the ball cleanly later on in the innings.
Shadab Khan: Shadab has had a rough 2019 but did reasonably well in the second T20I when he gave away just 25 runs in his four overs. Pakistan will be hoping he can provide some breakthroughs in the final match though.
Mohammad Amir: Amir was Pakistan’s best bowler in the early part of the innings before Steven Smith took him to the cleaners at the very end. His final figures of 1-32 in 3.3 overs were a little unflattering and he will be hoping to get some support at the start of the innings where Australia do most of their damage.
Musa Khan: Wahab Riaz just doesn’t seem to be good enough for this level anymore and his 0-33 in three overs was just a painful reminder of that. The left-armer gets full marks for perseverance and heart but they aren’t enough to dismiss the likes of Aaron Finch, David Warner and Steven Smith. Musa Khan’s pace and unpredictability might help Pakistan more than the familiar face of Wahab.
Muhammad Irfan: Irfan was disappointing in the first game but bounced back nicely in the second, dismissing his tormentor Aaron Finch on his way to figures of 1-27 in four. His performance means he is almost certain to keep his place in the side for the final game.