Rampant Australia eye series win
PERTH, Thursday: Pakistan have not been at their best under Babar Azam, and another defeat would make it five in a row for the world’s No.1 team when they meet Australia in the third and final T20 International at Perth Stadium here on Friday.
Australia are unstoppable. In a format they have historically struggled to come to grips with, no less. They have been rampant in each of the completed games in their home summer so far.
It’s more proof of the value of being able to identify specialists at a time when the three formats are becoming increasingly distant in terms of the skills they require, and of building a squad with well-defined roles.
Pakistan are somehow clinging on to their No.1 ranking, but their performances are increasingly doing little to justify that position.
Their 3-0 sweep at the hands of a weakened Sri Lanka, in their own conditions, seems to have sent them on a tailspin. Heads have rolled, new captains appointed, but the results have remained the same.
Babar Azam was once again the shining jewel in a top order that fell apart rapidly. Iftikhar Ahmed arrested the slide with a 34-ball 62 not out late in the innings, to give Pakistan a reasonable score to defend. But Steve Smith demolished the target with a 51-ball 80 not out as Australia cantered to victory.
“I thought the bowlers set it up early. It was probably a 170 wicket I reckon at least. They bowled beautifully. Then it was just about timing the run and fortunately I was able to do that,” said Smith.
“Steve Smith took the match away. He played a magnificent innings. It’s very difficult when we lose early wickets,” said Babar.