Venue: Perth Stadium, Perth (Aus)
Date: Friday, November 8, 2019
With the two-match Test series looming around the corner, this is a T20I that has a little bit more to it than just bragging rights between Pakistan and Australia.
The Australians have been unbeatable on home soil this autumn, starting with their three T20I wins over Sri Lanka that were all achieved with room to spare. The first match of this series against Pakistan was rained out, with Australia looking good to run down the Pakistani target of 107 in an abridged 15 over contest. The Aussies had scored 41 without loss after 3.1 overs when the rain came in to see the game finish with no result.
In the second game between the two countries on Tuesday, Pakistan set Australia a target of 150 to win. It was another great run chase by the Australians, with the home side reaching 151/3 after 18.3 overs. The chase was perhaps even more impressive given that David Warner was lost early, leaving Steven Smith to top score with 80.
It has been a rough season of T20I cricket for a Pakistan team that lost three matches at home in Lahore to Sri Lanka at the beginning of October in preparation for this series. They desperately need a win here to find some sort of momentum for the Tests.
The big news for Australia is that Pat Cummins is to be rested for this final T20I match in order to make sure he is focused and ready for the Tests against Pakistan and New Zealand. He is not even traveling to Perth for this match, instead heading home for a brief bout of rest and relaxation before gearing up for the longer format game.
Cummins – perhaps the best example of an all-formats player in Australia – has played in 31 matches for his country in 2019. Those eight Tests, 16 ODIs and seven T20Is will take a toll on even the fittest player both mentally and physically. Cummings – Test cricket’s No. 1 ranked bowler – will be a big miss here, but the Australian bowling lineup has the depth to cover for his absence.
It is the batting that has caused Pakistan all kinds of problems this season. They reached scores of 147, 134, and 101 in their defeats by Sri Lanka, ranking their 150 in the second T20I match in Australia their best score of the autumn.
Pakistan also needs to do a better job of controlling Australia in the early overs of their bowling stint. Imad Wasim – a player normally among the most reliable in the T20I format – was blasted to pieces in the second over of the second T20I as David Warner hit four fours off of his bowling. It didn’t get much better from there with Smith commanding at the strikers end, with Pakistan knowing that the team needs better productivity in all facets on Friday.
The home team are heavy favorites here with BetXChange and rightfully so as they will win here to claim the series. With Cummins out of the squad, there is some value in the home team best bowler market. Look for Mitchell Starc at 2.50 and Kane Richardson at 3.50 to be in with a shout of that designation.