Pakistan vs Australia T20 Preview and Prediction: Who Will Win Sole T20?

Babar Azam in T20 action for Babar Azam.

With the honours even after the Test series (won by Australia) and the ODI series (won by Pakistan), the two sides are set to go head-to-head in this standalone T20 in Lahore. Both sides have been in fine form in the shortest format of late and will feel confident in their chances. But who will come out on top? Read on for our full Pakistan vs Australia T20 preview and prediction:

Pakistan vs Australia T20 Preview and Prediction

Recent Form

Pakistan won their most recent T20 series against the West Indies very comfortably, posting big scores in the first three matches before chasing down a mammoth 207 inside 19 overs to secure a series whitewash. They also dismissed Bangladesh in a two-match series prior to that. However, they were beaten when they last came up against Australia and in the T20 World Cup semifinals no less, with a late cameo from Matthew Wade sealing the Australian victory.

The Australians themselves were beaten last time they played a T20, but that defeat came in the fifth match of a bilateral series against Sri Lanka after they had won the first four matches, three of them at a canter. That five-match series represents the only T20 cricket Australia have played since their surprise triumph at the T20 World Cup last November. They will, however, be without the majority of their star players for this standalone match.

Expected Teams

Unlike their visitors, Pakistan will be at full strength. They will likely return to the opening combination of Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam, with Babar in particularly good touch in the ODI series. Fakhar Zaman will bat at number three, with Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed and Haider Ali completing the middle order. Khushdil Shah and Shadab Khan will be the last recognised batters at number seven and eight, with a trio of seamers, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf completing the XI.

The list of Australian absences is fairly extensive. Expect Aaron Finch to return to the top of the order, alongside the in-form Travis Head. Ben McDermott will bat at three, with Josh Inglis the likeliest option at four after testing negative. Marcus Stoinis will continue at number five, with Cameron Green at six and Sean Abbot at seven. Ashton Agar will likely play ahead of Mitchell Swepson, with Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa and Jason Behrendorff completing the Australian side.

Prediction

Make no mistake, there are some very good players in this Australian side, but there are also some big absences, particularly in the bowling department. Against a full strength Pakistan side, it looks a tall order for Australia to overcome those absences. Indeed, for all that Pakistan are coming up against the World Champions, the hosts probably have a claim to being the   best T20 team. Expect them to show why in Lahore with a statement win.

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