Shaheen Afridi gives Pakistan selection headache ahead of T20 tri-series final with Australia

Waseem Ahmed 14:25 07/07/2018
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Shaheen Afridi had impressed in Pakistan's last match.

Pakistan and Australia are all set to square off in the final of the T20 tri-series at Harare on Sunday (12:00 start).

Both sides come into the summit showdown off the back of three victories out of four in the round-robin stage. In the two previous matches between the two sides in the tri-series, the honours were shared equally with each side picking up a win – and comfortably easing past Zimbabwe in the other matches.

PAKISTAN LOOK TO CONSOLIDATE NO1 RANKING

Before the start of the series, Australia had the chance of leapfrogging the No1 ranked Pakistan in the ICC rankings. That opportunity vanished with Pakistan’s 45-run win over the Aussies last Thursday. With England and India currently locked at 1-1 in their three-match T20 series, it means that Sarfraz Ahmed’s men will hold on to their crown irrespective of Sunday’s outcome.

However, the men in green will want to consolidate their top-dog position and extend their current six-point lead over second-ranked India as well as their seven-point lead over the third-ranked Aussies.

Pakistan will want to extend their lead at the top of the rankings.

Pakistan will want to extend their lead at the top of the rankings.

SHAHEEN AFRIDI GIVES SARFRAZ SELECTION HEADACHE

Pakistan’s win over Australia in the dead-rubber clash has given Sarfraz a problem of plenty. Teenage pacer Shaheen Afridi impressed in only his second T20I outing for Pakistan by picking up a three-wicket haul which included the scalps of Aaron Finch, D’Arcy Short and Glenn Maxwell.

With plenty of pacers at his disposal, the Pakistan skipper is faced with a tough choice between playing Afridi or sticking to the experience pairing of Hasan Ali and Usman Khan. Pace spearhead Mohammad Amir sat out the side’s first two games in the series and will lead the attack in the final in all probability.

That would mean Sarfraz will need to leave out one of Hasan Ali, Afridi or Usman in the final and it will definitely not be an easy decision.

Shaheen Afridi was devastating against Australia.

Shaheen Afridi was devastating against Australia.

AUSTRALIA LOOK TO SEAL FIRST TROPHY OF LANGER ERA

Australia arrived in Zimbabwe following a crushing 6-0 whitewash at the hands of England in the limited-overs clashes. Finch and his men have given a much better account of themselves in the African nation although they still look far from the finished article. With the skipper rediscovering his form and Glenn Maxwell finding his touch too, the Aussies are starting to become a much more potent unit.

With pacer Billy Stanlake in devastating form with the new ball, Justin Langer’s men will fancy their chances of a first series win since the ugly aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal.

Skipper Aaron Finch has found form once again.

Skipper Aaron Finch has found form once again.

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