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RESULT
3rd T20I (N), Dubai (DSC), October 28, 2018, Pakistan v Australia
(19.1/20 ov, T:151) 117

Pakistan won by 33 runs

Player Of The Match
3/19
shadab-khan
Player Of The Series
163 runs
babar-azam
Preview

Can embattled Australia stave off whitewash?

Their best chance could be to target Pakistan's shaky middle order that is heavily reliant on top-order contributions from Babar and Hafeez

Alex Carey walks back as Mohammad Hafeez and Sarfraz Ahmed celebrate, Pakistan v Australia, 2nd T20I, Dubai, October 26, 2018

Alex Carey walks back as Mohammad Hafeez and Sarfraz Ahmed celebrate  •  AFP

Big Picture

Australia need to salvage some pride on this UAE tour, and they've almost run out of chances. Sunday represents their last chance to do that, and with the visitors guaranteed to return home without any silverware, it is only pride they can fight for. They haven't really been competitive in the Tests as well as T20Is. The 1-0 defeat in the Tests was , if anything, flattering for Australia, while the apparently narrow margin of the defeat in the second T20I concealed how comfortable Pakistan had been for all but two overs in the entire game. There's little evidence any of that can change in Dubai on Sunday, but with Pakistan perhaps looking to experiment with their line-up and the pressure off Australia now the series is over, it isn't unthinkable they could come away with the whitewash avoided.
It's been a slightly strange series for Pakistan, in which they haven't hit the spectacular heights you'd expect of the No.1 side. The batting has never quite come together, and the two-mid-ranging totals they compiled might have proved significantly harder to defend against a better side than the one they're playing against now. Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez have been responsible for the bulk of the runs; no other batsman in either T20I scored more than 17 runs. Alternately, it might be a horses-for-courses approach, with Pakistan confident the bowlers can defend any total in excess of 140. This would mean Pakistan haven't felt the need to take greater risks in search of higher totals.
It is unlikely Pakistan will ease up on their intensity, though. There's barely time between the end of this series and the beginning of the next; Pakistan take on New Zealand in the first T20I three days after this game ends. They will look to maintain the momentum and sustain their winning habits that will be necessary against the tougher challenge New Zealand will likely pose, with a whitewash being the perfect way to go into that leg of the home winter.

Form guide

Australia LLWLW
Pakistan WWWWW

In the spotlight

Pakistan's middle order may be choc-a-bloc with all-round talent, but at the moment, it looks like a gaping hole as far as the batting order is concerned. The players coming in from No. 4 onwards haven't provided Pakistan with the reliability a top-class side needs from its batsmen, and so far they have had to rely heavily on Babar and Hafeez Should Australia find a way to snare a couple of quick wickets tomorrow, that misfiring middle order will find itself thrust into a role it hasn't fulfilled this series so far. It may well be the key battleground in Dubai tomorrow, as well as the best route to victory Australia have.
Andrew Tye has been a regular for Australia in this format for the past 18 months or so, missing only one of his side's 19 T20Is. Highly rated in Australia as a wicket-taker with plenty of variations - like any modern T20 fast bowler - he was perhaps the visitors' best bowler in the first T20I, conceding just 24 runs while taking three wickets.
However, his second T20I , where he went for 40 off four overs, was more representative of his overall international career. With an economy rate of 8.69, Tye is in the top ten for worst economy rates in T20I cricket; only thrice in his 21 matches has he gone for under seven runs per over. It means the batsmen have to chase higher totals, and if there's one thing we know about this Australian side, the batting lacks confidence. If he can put in a performance closer to the one he enjoyed in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, he will increase Australia's chances of avoiding a whitewash here.

Team news

Pakistan could experiment, having already sealed the series. But everyone in the squad is more than up to the challenge, and competition for places is fierce. Opener Sahibzada Farhan may be given the chance to add to his solitary international cap, while Waqas Maqsood, included in the squad place of Mohammad Amir, could make his debut.
Pakistan (possible): 1 Babar Azam, 2 Fakhar Zaman/Sahibzada Farhan, 3 Mohammad Hafeez , 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Asif Ali, 6 Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), 7 Faheem Ashraf, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Shadab Khan, 10 Hasan Ali, 11 Shaheen Afridi/Waqas Maqsood
It's hard to see Australia making a raft of changes. It is improved performances that will get them results; there's no X-factor sitting on the bench. Mitchell Starc is unlikely to be risked so soon after injury, given the series is gone. Ashton Agar may come back to the side, with Ben McDermott the likeliest to make way.
Australia (possible): 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 D'Arcy Short, 3 Chris Lynn, 4 Mitchell Marsh/, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Andrew Tye, 9 Adam Zampa, 10 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 11 Billy Stanlake

Pitch and conditions

Conditions are much they same as they were on Friday. Australia will be keen to give batting first a try, though, after their unsuccessful chasing efforts.

Stats and trivia

  • If Pakistan win tomorrow, it will be the first time they have whitewashed Australia in a limited-overs series longer than two games
  • For Australians with five or more wickets, no one has a better T20I economy rate than Adam Zampa's 6.05.
  • Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

    Australia Innings
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