Steve Smith Shines With The Bat As Australia Draws First Blood
Australia drew the first blood against Pakistan in the second T20I with a convincing seven-wicket win at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Tuesday. The first game was abandoned due to rain where the Aussies were off to a brisk start while chasing a revised target of 119 in the rain-curtailed 15-over match having got to 41/0 in just 3.1 overs. Pakistan had got to 150/6 in their 20 overs after electing to bat first riding on splendid half-centuries from skipper Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed. However, all their hard work was undone by an outstanding knock by Steve Smith.
WATCH: Pak's Babar Azam scores a 50 and gets run-out on the same ball
Steve Smith shines for Australia
Steve Smith had come out to the middle at the fall of David Warner's wicket. Chasing a target of 151, the Aussies had got off to a good start as the opening pair of David Warner and captain Aaron Finch had added 30 runs before the southpaw was castled by Mohammad Amir in the quest of scoring quick runs. Warner's opening partner Finch did not last long either and the hosts were reduced to 48/2. Steve Smith then anchored the Australian run chase as he and Ben McDermott added 58 runs for the third wicket stand before McDermott was trapped in front of the wicket of Imad Wasim. Meanwhile, Smith ensured that the Aussies lost no more wickets as he took the responsibility of scoring the bulk of runs. In the end, his efforts paid off as Australia reached the target in the 19th over. Smith remained unbeaten on a 51-ball 80 at a strike rate of 156.86 including 11 boundaries and a maximum.
WATCH: Pak's Babar Azam frustrated speechless at teammate Asif Ali
Can Pakistan level the series?
Pakistan, who are currently the top-ranked T20I side have not had a good time in the game's shortest format so far. In fact, they have not won any T20I series this year. After winning 11 consecutive T20I series under the captaincy of Sarfaraz Ahmed, Pakistan had lost an away series against South Africa earlier this year and were whitewashed at home by Sri Lanka recently after which Sarfaraz was sacked from captaincy and was replaced by Babar Azam in the shortest format. Now, Pakistan cannot win the series, but they can certainly ensure that it ends in a stalemate provided they win the third and final T20I which will be played at the Optus Stadium in Perth on Friday.