Mitch Marsh in frame to return as Pakistan and Australia get set for second T20

Waseem Ahmed 16:18 25/10/2018
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A return on the cards for Australia's Mitch Marsh.

If Australia were hoping to bring the fight to Pakistan in the T20s after their humbling in the Test series, it did not come in the opening match at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

The tourists were bundled out for just 89 runs as they fell to a 66-run defeat at the Sheikh Zayed stadium. Aaron Finch and his men will now be desperate to keep the series alive as the scenery now shifts to Dubai for the remaining two games.

As the two sides get ready to do battle in the second T20 on Friday, we look at the key talking points.

PAKISTAN LOOK TO CONTINUE IMPRESSIVE T20 FORM

Pakistan are the No1 ranked T20 outfit in the world for a reason. Sarfraz Ahmed’s men have been sensational in the format over the past two years or so and have won a whopping 16 out of their last 18 matches following their victory in Abu Dhabi.

With the series on the line on Friday, the men in green will not want to let up the pressure as they seek to continue their T20 dominance.

Pakistan got the better of the Aussies in the T20 tri-series held in Zimbabwe earlier this year too and with the comfort of their ‘home’ conditions and a returning Shoaib Malik, will be the clear favourites for Friday’s clash.

The men in green will not take their foot off the gas.

The men in green will not take their foot off the gas.

MITCH MARSH IN FRAME TO RETURN FOR AUSTRALIA

Australia skipper Aaron Finch did not hide his frustrations following his team’s dramatic batting collapse in the first T20. The opening batsman compared his side’s collapse to a ‘car crash in slow motion’ and vowed to ring in the changes with respect to the batting department.

However, when it comes to options sitting in Australia’s batting reserves, there is only one in the form of all-rounder Mitch Marsh. The newly appointed vice-captain was left out of the playing XI for the Abu Dhabi clash following his dismal performances in the Test series but will definitely make a return in Dubai following Finch’s latest comments.

The younger of the Marsh siblings has been a decent performer for Australia in the limited-overs circuit and his return to the XI could in fact give the tourists a boost in both the batting and bowling department.

A chance for Marsh to make amends.

A chance for Marsh to make amends.

TOURISTS SEEKS NO2 SPOT AS PAKISTAN RETAIN NO1 RANK

Before the start of the series, third-ranked Australia had a chance to leapfrog Pakistan and take top spot provided they completed a 3-0 clean sweep.

Pakistan’s victory in the first T20 now means that the side will retain the No1 rank irrespective of the results in the remainder of the series.

However, Australia still have the second rank in their sights and should they win the remaining two matches, they could rise above India in the standings. Hence, there will be a lot more at stake on Friday for the tourists apart from the series being on the line.

The Aussies still have the No2 rank in their sights.

The Aussies still have the No2 rank in their sights.

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