Thursday Oct 31, 2019
Pakistani cricketers usually make for a miserable bunch on tours of Australia and have at times even struggled against hotchpotch sides in warm-up matches Down Under. But they were pretty dominant in their tour opening T20 against Cricket Australia (CA) XI on Thursday, brushing aside their opponents in Sydney by six wickets and with 13 balls to spare.
Granted that the CA XI was mostly filled with second-tier cricketers, most of whom had never played at the highest level, but it was still an impressive feat on Pakistan’s part.
After losing the toss and being told to bowl first, the Babar Azam-led side was on their game from the get-go, picking up the first wicket on the very first ball. Mohammad Irfan, the comeback colossus, the 7’1 behemoth, did the damage.
After Ryan Gibson (0) everyone else contributed in double figures but none of the batsmen could play a long innings. Thus, a massive score was not be seen.
CA captain Chris Lynn was the most recognised of his team’s batsmen. He contributed 24 off 16 before being bowled out by Wahab Riaz.
The real demolition man though was legspinner Shadab Khan, who took three wickets for 30 runs in his four overs. Where Shadab was the most destructive, Irfan was the most economical, giving away just 19 runs in his four overs to go with his first-ball wicket.
Shadab found his missing mojo with the ball and so Azam and Fakhar Zaman did too, but with the bat. The pair dealt the Australian bowlers with ease and formed a 78-run partnership for the opening wicket.
The game was pretty much over, thanks to the salve up top. Azam had a 29-ball 34, Zaman a 39-ball 43 and Haris Sohail (32 off 22 balls).
Khushdil Shah, the new batsmen picked for the upcoming T20I series with the real Australia, did not get to bat unfortunately.
Shadab was named the player of the match but Irfan’s impact was also pretty important.
The first T20I between Pakistan and Australia will be played on Sunday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.