Pakistan v Australia, 1st T20I, Dubai September 5, 2012

A meaningful prelude

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Match facts

September 5, 2012
Start time 2000 (1600 GMT)

Big Picture

The ICC's rankings would suggest that Pakistan (6th) and Australia (9th) will be competing for the minor placings at the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka that follows this series. Yet the talent and aggression contained within both sides is considerable, and will be on full display over the next three matches in Dubai as Mohammad Hafeez and George Bailey, the two captains, decide on their best T20 combinations before the big tournament.

Pakistan's best in the format has been proven good enough to lift the world title, as proven over a joyous three weeks in England in 2009. At the last tournament in the West Indies they looked good for another tilt, only to be humbugged by an extraordinary innings from Michael Hussey as Australia scraped their way into the final, ultimately lost to England. Since then Cricket Australia have taken an increasingly serious look at T20, reflected in how the workloads of several players have been managed to have them building up to a peak over the next month.

The ODI series that preceded these games was narrowly won by Australia, but the T20 side is not that of Michael Clarke. Bailey has plenty to live up to over the next three matches, not least the need for him to put a stamp on the captaincy with his bat, which so far has yielded a grand total of 60 runs and a highest score of 24. Hafeez is also seeking to make the role his own, having shared his first series with Sri Lanka earlier in the year. He is adamant that there is more to his team than the spin wiles of Saeed ajmal, and the next three matches will provide a chance to prove it to the world and themselves ahead of the World T20.

Form guide (Complete matches, most recent first)

Pakistan WLLLW
Australia LWLWL

Watch out for

The omission of Umar Gul from the ODI team was a talking point, and his absence left the Pakistan attack looking a little too over reliant on spin, even if the slow bowlers called on were all of high quality. He is back in the team for the T20s and will be looking to add some fire and swing to the team, as well as the yorkers he is so capable of delivering in the shortest format. Australia's batsmen will be wary of Gul, who took 4 for 8 against them on this ground in 2009, though they will also hope he will be short of rhythm in his first few overs.

Having shown his fearlessness in his first international series, Glenn Maxwell will now have the chance to secure a spot for himself in the T20 team ahead of the world title bout in Sri Lanka. Maxwell's combination of power and composure was compelling during the series deciding ODI, and his ability to attack the spinners with conviction should serve him well again here. Pakistan had greater success against Maxwell's modest off spin, and it is in that discipline that the young allrounder will want to improve in these matches.

Team news

Umar Gul and Mohammad Sami will add a greater pace threat to the Pakistan team, while Imran Nazir's batting should also find a valued place in the XI.

Pakistan (squad) Mohammad Hafeez (capt), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal (wk), Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Arafat, Umar Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan, Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami, Sohail Tanvir

Brad Hogg's wrist spin will add a dimension lacking from Australia's ODI combination, while the returns of Shane Watson and Pat Cummins add power and pace. Cameron White's chance of a place in the batting order may depend on the bowling balance chosen.

Australia (squad) David Warner, Shane Watson, Matthew Wade (wk), David Hussey, Michael Hussey, George Bailey (capt), Cameron White, Daniel Christian, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Hogg, Xavier Doherty, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Ben Hilfenhaus, Alister McDermott

Pitch and conditions

The change of formats means more palatable playing hours for both sides, though it will not entirely rule out the emergence of dew as a factor in the second innings. Dubai's pitch has shown evidence of some pace and bounce in recent times, but its most abiding characteristics are helpfulness to spinners.

Stats and trivia

  • The banned left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Amir was the man of the match the last time these two sides met, at Edgbaston during the 2010 series played in England. Pakistan won the series 2-0.
  • Pakistan have won seven and lost seven of the 14 T20 matches they have played in Dubai. They defeated Australia in the two sides' only previous match at the ground, by seven wickets in 2009.
  • This is Australia's first T20 series of more than two matches' duration

    Quotes

    "We haven't really had a long time together as a Twenty20 team so it will be good playing Pakistan. We were unlucky on missing out on the [World T20] final the last time. This team has got good balance of youth and experience and on our day we can beat the best teams in the world."
    Shane Watson believes the ICC rankings do not do Australia's T20 talent justice

    Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on September 6, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    all pakistan has to do to win is improve there fielding....they already have decent batting and exceptional bowling

  • dummy4fb on September 5, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    pakistan inshahALLAH WIN t20 match

  • Desihungama on September 5, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    @Jono Makim - Right on. When it comes to common sense, we Pakistaniz tend to think outside of the box'..It's always Go Figure with us.

  • KrazyCricketKid on September 5, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    1.ImranNazir 2.NasirJamshed 3.MohammedHafeez 4.AsadShafiq 5.UmarAkmal 6.KamranAkmal 7.ShahidAfridi 8.AbdulRazzaq 9.MohammedSami 10.UmarGul 11.SaeedAjmal

  • FaisalAsghar on September 5, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Pakistan should not forget that Kamaran Akmal cant keep although his cover drives are delightful, Sami can never take wickets and I can see him going for 30 runs an over, Yasir Arafat is an average player, Umer Akmal still has the brains of a 5 year old, Shoaib Malick is a spent force. On the other hand Junaid Khan and Anwer Ali are sidelined so my question is are we going forward or backwards? I guess my fellow Pakistanis have short memories. I cant even forget the horror show behind the stumps by the great Akmal and 11 runs and over by Sami without a single wicket just to help refresh the memories.

  • dummy4fb on September 5, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    Pakistan is gona win today. Gut feeling...

  • matifjamil on September 5, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    Sohail Tanvir has no place in the team

  • dummy4fb on September 5, 2012, 14:34 GMT

    Expectations are high from pakistanis....

  • MunafAhmed811 on September 5, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    Aussies are better organised and can match each Pakistani player man to man in talent except Ajmal. But their collective determination and application negates that threat as seen in ODI series comprehensive victory

  • dummy4fb on September 5, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Best wishes for both Pakistan and Australia. I hope boys in green will do something much better than what they did in ODI series against Australia. Don't know how much toss is important for this particular game because haven't any idea about weather and dew factor. I want Imran Nazir to open the innings with Sparkling Nasir Jamshed, I'll miss young Junaid Khan in T20 series but T20 Specialist Guldozer's inclusion is a positive sign for Pakistan.

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