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Pakistan v Australia: Can the Aussies bounce back from that horror show?

Updated October 26, 2018

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Australia need a victory tonight to keep the series alive. — AFP
Australia need a victory tonight to keep the series alive. — AFP

For an Australian team to become the main talking point against Pakistan in the UAE — and not in a good way — something absolutely catastrophic must have happened. And it had; those who saw the "6-22" farce in the opening T20I would attest to that.

But the truth is even though Australian batting was horrible in that game, the rest of their game was pretty decent. In fact, the Aussie bowlers had done quite a decent job before their batsmen did what they did.

Heading into tonight's follow-up fixture, the number one priority for the Aussies will be to fix whatever had led to their batting collapse. The obvious solution is to make sure that their batters don't try and hit their way out of a sticky situation — something which they tried and failed miserably at on Wednesday.

Read: 5 takeaways from Pakistan's annihilation of the 'impostors' in yellow

A lazy argument being bandied around these days is that this Australian side sent to the UAE desert is arguably its weakest rendition, and so it's okay if they fail. While that may have been true for their Test squad, their limited-overs version is still a pretty strong unit, if not a powerhouse like the days gone.

In fact, their top order features the likes of Finch himself, D'Arcy Short, Glenn Maxwell and Chris Lynn — all superb batters capable of winning a match on their own on any given night. But this same quartet was also the main responsible for the unit's batting meltdown.

Finch had made it no secret that he will ring in some changes for tonight's game but it's hard to imagine him dropping any of the four named above. Perhaps, he could shuffle the batting order a little and put a bit more stable batter in the top order.

Australian batting's Wednesday night incompetence made Pakistan look better than they were; a 66-run defeat in a 20-over-a-side match carries that effect. But look closely and you would find that Australia's wasn't the only batting collapse that night.

Sarfraz Ahmed's men went from being 130-3 to 133-8, losing five wickets for the addition of just three runs. Had it not been for Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez's partnership up top and Hasan Ali's cameo low down, things could have been just as ugly for them as they eventually were for Australia.

More good news for the Greenshirts, however, is that Shoaib Malik — who missed the opening match — is now available to be picked. With him coming in, one of Hussain Talat and Asif Ali will have to vacate their spots. The rest of the team pretty much picks itself.

The writer is a cricket enthusiast from Karachi.