Australia claimed the three-match T20I series over Pakistan by winning the third and final game in Perth by a comfortable 10-wicket margin on Friday.
The game had plenty of points to be discussed.
Australia send a message: The number one side in the world was brushed aside without the hosts ever having to get out of second gear. Their start with both bat and ball blew Pakistan out of the water every single time and the hosts will be a force to reckon with at next year’s T20I World Cup. With their top three in the form of their lives and their bowlers delivering in every single game, Australia are clear favourites for next year’s mega event.
Pakistan get their team selection wrong: Pakistan opted to drop the out-of-form Fakhar Zaman and bring in Imam-ul-Haq into the side for the final game. The idea was to add some solidity to the top of the order but it meant that Pakistan had no firepower at the top of the innings. None of the quartet had a strike-rate of even 100 and Pakistan’s run-rate was better than six for just two overs in their entire innings. Muhammad Irfan may also consider himself unlucky to be dropped after a decent performance in the second T20I.
Iftikhar Ahmed provides silver living to miserable series: Iftikhar Ahmed’s performances in the second and third T20Is were arguably the only positives for Pakistan, other than the consistently excellent Babar Azam. The middle-order batsman played some excellent shots to make 108 runs in the series off 72 deliveries and was dismissed just once. Pakistan’s search for a lower-middle-order batsman that can both anchor and accelerate may finally be over.
Pressure grows on Misbah: The head coach could not have had a worse start to his tenure and Pakistan suddenly seem to be in need of overhaul ahead of next year’s World Cup. The visitors have lost their way with both bat and ball, and too much early tinkering already seems to have dented the confidence of several players. The board’s decision to drop the struggling but popular Sarfaraz Ahmed seems to have made matters worse for now.
Australia showcase strength in depth: Aaron Finch’s men brought in Sean Abbott and Billy Stanlake for the final game, and both pacers delivered to highlight the diversity of options at Australia’s disposal. Neither gave anything away and finished with 2-14 and 0-19 in their four overs respectively. In contrast, the two pacers Pakistan brought in — Musa Khan and Mohammad Hasnain — finished with figures of 0-39 and 0-32.
David Warner has a point to prove: Just like Steven Smith, David Warner seems like a man hell bent on making up for lost time. He has now scored 287 runs in six T20Is this year and has just been dismissed once, boasting a strike-rate of 145.68 and average of 287. The top three averages from any major team this year are all from Australians: Warner (287), Smith (146) and Glenn Maxwell (115.5). This team appears to be unstoppable at the moment.