Australia made a mockery of Pakistan’s No1 ranking as the rampant hosts clinched the series by 2-0, after crushing the visitors emphatically by 10 wickets in the third and final T20I in Perth.
The Aussies were unrelenting with both ball and bat in the third T20 with Pakistan’s paltry total of 106-8 proving no obstacle for their marauding openers.
In the end, Aaron Finch’s men wiped out the target with more than eight overs to spare to hand Pakistan an almighty humbling. A shoddy, and lethargic, batting display proved to be Pakistan’s undoing in Perth and that is where we start off our talking points from the clash.
No Babar, no party for Pakistan
That Pakistan’s batting is hugely dependent on Babar Azam was exposed once again with the side crumbling after their skipper failed to fire. Babar has registered fifties in both the previous clashes to give Pakistan’s totals some respectability, however, the 25-year-old didn’t last too long at the crease in Perth after being trapped lbw on six by Mitchell Starc.
With the skipper falling early, the rest of the batsmen failed to come to the party bar the exception of Iftikhar Ahmed. The all-rounder was the only bright spark for the visitors on a miserable day with his 37-ball 45 helping his side avoid the ignominy of being bowled out under 100.
Apart from Iftikhar, only Imam-ul-Haq (14) managed to get into double-digits for Pakistan with the likes of Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan and debutant Khushdil Shah failing to create any indent on the scorecard.
A total of 61 dot-balls in the innings summarised Pakistan’s batting woes with the pace and bounce on the Perth track proving too hot to handle for their batsmen.
Disciplined bowling display at the heart of Australia’s win
Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa were handed a rest on Friday by skipper Aaron Finch but their absence hardly showed as Australia put in another commanding bowling display. Having been handed a T20I cap after a gap of five years, pacer Sean Abbott was among the wickets straight away as he claimed the scalps of Imam-ul-Haq and Imad Wasim.
It was Starc who got the ball rolling for the hosts with the consecutive dismissals of Babar and Rizwan before Kane Richardson picked up the mantle. Richardson picked up three wickets as he finished with stellar figures of 3-18 while Ashton Agar completed a fine series display after returning with 1-25 in Perth.
Big man Billy Stanlake, who came in for Zampa, was the lone bowler to not pick a wicket for the Aussies. However, he was tough to get away for Pakistan’s batsmen as well, with his four overs going for just 19 runs.
A chase of just 107 runs was never really going to bother the hosts with in-form openers Finch and David Warner knocking off the required target in under 12 overs. It was the seventh win in eight T20 matches (one no-result) for the Finch’s men whose credentials as prime contenders for the 2020 World Cup on home soil keep getting stronger.
Pakistan’s T20 juggernaut unravelling
After a run of 11 consecutive T20I series wins which saw them maintain a two-year stronghold on the No1 ranking, it is all starting to unravel for Pakistan with less than a year to go for the World Cup. The Perth defeat has now consigned them to their fourth straight series loss in the format with the Men in Green yet to win a bilateral series in 2019.
They have now lost eight of their last 10 T20 outings with one of them ending in a no-result. The thrashing at the hands of Australia follows their embarrassing 0-3 whitewash by Sri Lanka on home soil, with the pressure now rising on Misbah-ul-Haq. The former skipper’s tenure in a dual role of head coach and selector could not have started off on a worse note with reversals against the Lankans and Aussies throwing up plenty of question marks.
The batting remains a mess an utter mess despite the presence of No1 ranked Babar ,while the bowlers haven’t covered themselves in glory either, with just the three Australian wickets claimed in total in the two completed innings.
Where Pakistan go from here will now be interesting to watch with the knives sharpening already for Misbah in his brief, but unremarkable, tenure so far.
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