Pakistan are the only unbeaten side in the T20 World Cup thus far. A journey which commenced with a 10-wicket thumping of arch-rivals India has seen them brush aside challenges from Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Namibia and Scotland. The Kiwis and Afghanistan challenged Pakistan. However, Babar Azam’s men found a way out and, going into the semis, will be high on confidence.
There are some concerns in the Pakistan camp as Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik missed the team training session on Wednesday with mild flu. Both were tested for Covid-19 and tested negative. Pakistan have a lot going for them. Babar Azam, Rizwan as well as the middle-order has also hit form. Fakhar Zaman’s lack of runs remain a concern. In the bowling, Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf have excelled while Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim have done a decent job but Hasan Ali’s hasn’t looked at his best yet.
Australia were not expected to progress this far. They have done commendably well to reach the semi-finals. Importantly for them, David Warner has found form while captain Aaron Finch is also back among the runs. Because most of Australia’s wins have been convincing, the middle and lower-order hasn’t needed to do a lot. But the experienced duo of Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell will be expected to rise to the occasion on the big day if needed.
In the bowling department, Adam Zampa has stood out for Australia while Josh Hazlewood has been impressive as well. However, better will be expected of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, who haven’t been at their best yet.
Pakistan’s predicted XI: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi
Australia’s predicted XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
Top fantasy picks for Pakistan vs Australia clash: Babar Azam, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
--Renin Wilben Albert