Pakistan will play the mighty Australia team in the second semi-final of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium today, hoping to reach the final.
Green, who won the T20 World Cup final in 2009, has an advantage over Australia in the United Arab Emirates, where they have won six of the eight T20Is played. Furthermore, the Green Shirts have won 13 of their 23 meetings with them.
Pakistan, on the other hand, has yet to defeat Australia in the knockout stage of an ICC event.
The Kangaroos had defeated the Shaheens in the 1987 semifinal, the 1999 final, the 2010 T20 World Cup semi-final, and the 2015 World Cup quarter-final.
The Green Shirts, on the other hand, will be looking to break the jinx this time around, as Babar Azam and company have been oozing confidence throughout the tournament.
Pakistan has been the most successful team in T20 World Cups, becoming the first team to reach five semifinals after defeating Namibia by 45 runs.
Meanwhile, the Australians have previously played two semi-finals in 2010 and 2012. However, it is their first semi-final appearance in nearly nine years.
The 2010 runners-up qualified for the final four based on Net Run Rate, as the top three teams in Group 1, England, Australia, and South Africa, all had 8 points.
Pakistan’s Strengths and weaknesses
Babar Azam, the Green Shirts’ captain, is the tournament’s second-highest run-scorer with 264 runs, just five runs behind England’s Jos Buttler, who was eliminated by New Zealand on Wednesday.
Babar will be crucial in the game because the Pakistan team is heavily reliant on his performance because the entire batting line revolves around him while he anchors the inning.
Babar and Mohammad Rizwan have been phenomenal as Pakistan’s openers, consistently performing. The issue is that they are similar types of players who mostly play at a run-a-ball rate on the powerplay.
The formula worked well for Pakistan against weaker sides, where they accelerated in the last 8 to 10 overs and scored 160+, but Australia may not let them cut loose once they are cornered.
Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, who are experienced campaigners and good spinners, can, on the other hand, effectively play Australian spinner Adam Zampa.
Surprisingly, in the history of the T20 World Cup, Australia has never dismissed Malik. He scored 52 (38) points in Johannesburg in 2007, 4 (2) points in Colombo in 2012, 6 (3) points in Dhaka in 2014, and 40 (20 points) in Mohali in 2016. Aside from that, Mohammad Asif can be effective in the lower middle order, as his power-hitting has helped Pakistan win two matches against New Zealand and Afghanistan.
The Asian giants have an extremely strong bowling attack, led by Shaheen Shah Afridi, who strikes early in the inning. Haris Rauf, on the other hand, has been impressed with his accuracy and deft change of pace. The spin department is more than capable, with players like Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan, who have been one of the tournament’s most economical spin duos. Furthermore, no one can ignore Hafeez’s threat, who can bowl off-spin at any stage of the inning and strike as well, particularly against left-handers.
Australia will rely on their top-order batting, led by the explosive David Warner, as 402 of their 640 runs in the mega event have come from the top three batters.
In the meantime, Adam Zampa has a bag of leg-spin tricks that can neutralize any batting line in the world. With 11 wickets, he is tied for the most with Trent Boult of New Zealand.
Australia’s current squad includes the three highest Australian T20I run scorers and the two highest wicket-takers. Finch, Warner, and Maxwell have the most runs, while Zampa and Starc have the most wickets.
Meanwhile, Australia’s pace attack is arguably the best in the tournament so far, with the likes of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, and Mitchell Starc collectively taking 19 wickets. With experience and skill, the trio can challenge Pakistani batters and will not allow the Green Shirts to score easily.
The game will begin at 7 p.m. PST at Dubai International Stadium.
David Warner, Aaron Finch (capt), Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez/Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali/Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi