Pakistan tackles Australia Thursday in the second semi-final of the ongoing T20 World Cup at Dubai International Stadium. Both sides will aim for a victory and book their place in the final. Pakistan were in great shape in the ongoing tournament and remained unbeaten during the Super 12 phase. The Babar Azam-led team defeated people like India and New Zealand with considerable ease and will hope to continue his winning form against the Aussies. Meanwhile, Australia suffered a major defeat against England but won their remaining matches.
Australia has also never won a T20 World Cup title and will hope to change that against Pakistan, who won the competition in 2009.
Here are six player fights that could have an impact on the game:
Babar Azam (Pakistan) vs Mitchell Starc (Australia)
The Pakistan captain is the second highest run-scorer in the ongoing tournament with 264 runs from five matches, which also includes four fifties. Babar also scored 278 runs against Australia at an average of 69.50 from six T20Is. The opening bat encountered Starc in three T20I overs and scored 29 runs in 21 balls. The batsman was also fired once by Starc. In this year’s T20 World Cup, Starc took seven wickets and will be crucial for his team in the first overs.
Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan) vs Pat Cummins (Australia)
The wicketkeeper-batsman was his team’s anchor during this tournament and averaged 214 runs from five games. Against Cummins, Rizwan will tackle a bowler who was economical in this year’s T20 World Cup but has yet to score a single wicket. The duo battled each other in two T20I overs with Rizwan scoring seven runs from 12 deliveries against Cummins. The pacemaker could not yet reject the opener.
Shoaib Malik (Pakistan) vs Adam Zampa (Australia)
Shoaib Malik was in great shape during his team’s recent win against Scotland. The veteran struck a 54-run unbeaten run from just 18 deliveries, helping his team win by 72 runs. Aussie spinner Zampa will be tasked with removing Malik and preventing him from getting comfortable in the crease. The duo took on each other in three innings and Malik did not lose his wicket.
Aaron Finch (Australia) vs Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan)
The Australian captain was in good shape in the tournament and scored 130 runs from five matches. He is also just four runs away from improving his own record of most runs (457 in 2018) as an Australian captain in T20Is in a calendar year. Meanwhile, Shaheen is Pakistan’s speed leader in the ongoing tournament and has taken six wickets. The bowler encountered Finch in two T20I overs and fired him once. He will be given the task of breaking Australia’s opening partnership in the match.
David Warner (Australia) vs Haris Rauf (Pakistan)
Warner has finally found his form in the ongoing tournament and is currently the eighth highest run-scorer. He has collected 187 of five matches and is also Australia’s highest run scorer. He will face Rauf against Pakistan’s highest wicket-taker in this competition. The pacemaker took eight wickets and was also the dead-ball specialist for his team. He will also be used for a bowling innings or two in the early stages of Australia’s innings.
Glenn Maxwell / Mitchell Marsh (Australia) vs Shadab Khan (Pakistan)
Maxwell and Marsh are Australia’s best batsmen after the dismissals of the likes of Finch, Warner and Smith. Both are specialists in this format of the game. Pakistan’s Shadab Khan will be given the task of removing the duo and he already has a good record against both. Shadab encountered Maxwell in three innings and has already sacked him twice. He has also faced Marsh in two T20I innings and also sacked him twice.
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