The second T20I between Australia and Pakistan will be played at the Manuka Oval, Canberra on Tuesday, November 5.
The two teams have met each other 21 times in T20Is, with Pakistan winning 13 of those games. In the last five encounters between the two sides, Pakistan have won four but were very lucky to see the match on Sunday abandoned due to rain with Australia well in the driver’s seat. Down Under, the hosts won the one completed match that happened in 2010.
Ground Detail and Team Combination
The Manuka Oval has been a batting-friendly ground over the last few years. Since the start of 2017, among all Australian grounds, it has the highest run-rate (9.1) in T20 cricket.
The batting average here at 27 is also one of the highest in Australia in the aforementioned time period, but wickets have fallen every 17.8 deliveries which is a moderate number. This shows that despite batsmen being able to score quickly here, bowlers are still able to pick a reasonable amount of wickets.
In the four matches that have been played here since the start of 2017, pacers have been expensive, conceding 10.1 runs per over with a balls per boundaries ratio of 4.9. But as mentioned previously, a wicket-taking bowler can perform well here, so Mitchell Starc is someone who could be a good option.
On the other hand, spinners have a weaker bowling strike rate here but have been more economical, conceding 7.5 runs per over.
Diving further into different bowling techniques, left-arm wrist spin has the best record here. But it has to be noted that this is mainly down to D’Arcy Short picking up four wickets in two innings. Short is in the home team’s squad and, if he plays, is a good option to consider for his all-round capabilities.
Left-arm pacers have leaked runs at the Manuka Oval over the last three years at an economy rate of 10.8, but they have a bowling strike rate of 16.8 which is a good number. Another reason you might want to look at picking Starc.
As usual, look at picking solid top-order batsmen. There are some really good options in this match, including Australia’s David Warner and Pakistan’s Babar Azam who are incredibly consistent in this format.
On Sunday, during Australia’s brief innings, David Warner was at the non-striker’s end as his opening partner Aaron Finch hit some massive blows. But it is Warner who continues to be our choice for captaincy. He has had an extraordinary year with the bat in T20 cricket, averaging over 70. What is incredible is the consistency with which he has been able to put up 50+ scores. In 23 innings, he has managed 15 50+ scores. He enjoys batting at home whatever the format maybe and in T20Is, he averages 43.68 at a strike rate of 148.4 Down Under.
Our first x-factor is the world’s number one ranked T20I batsman Babar Azam. As other Pakistan batsmen struggled to get going in Sydney, Babar scored a fluent half-century, his ninth from 20 innings since the start of 2018. He has a magnificent average of 55.06 during the aforementioned time period which more than anything shows that you can expect him to get you points most times than not. Now the skipper of the Pakistan T20I team, the 25-year-old will be hoping to get more support from his teammates as he anchors the innings.
Our second x-factor is Australian captain Aaron Finch. The hard-hitting opening batsman was in fine touch in Sydney on Sunday, smashing 37 off 16 deliveries before rain played spoilsport and brought an early end to the match. What’s most interesting is that Finch has faced 146 deliveries from left-arm pacers in T20Is and has been dismissed just once, with a strike rate of 169.2. And with Pakistan likely to have three left-arm pacers in their line-up, Finch could come good once again.
Our third x-factor is Shadab Khan. The Pakistan leg-spinner didn’t get to bowl during the game on Sunday, but he did impress in the tour match against Cricket Australia XI when he picked three wickets. Shadab has a fine record in T20Is, having taken 46 wickets in 35 innings at a strike rate of 17.15. In fact, since his debut in March 2017, no bowler has taken more wickets than him in T20Is. Shadab has a T20I strike rate of 15.6 against right-handed batsmen and with four of Australia’s top five expected to be right-handers, he should come good.
We should have a full game without rain playing spoilsport this time around. The temperature is expected to hover around 10-16°C in Canberra on Tuesday evening.
Suggested Fantasy Team
Mohammad Rizwan (wk), David Warner (c), Babar Azam, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Haris Sohail, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Shadab Khan, Adam Zampa.