Australia vs Pakistan: Smith's dexterity trumps Iftikhar's heroics
Australia coasted to a 7-wicket victory in the 2nd T20I at the Manuka Oval in Canberra to establish a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series. To the hosts’ delight, rain stayed away from the capital, thereby ensuring a complete game.
Pakistan won the toss in Canberra and opted to bat first. However, the visitors got off to a wretched start as Fakhar Zaman’s woeful run with the bat continued. Pat Cummins got rid of the left-hander in the 4th over before Kane Richardson sent Haris Sohail packing a few deliveries later.
Thereafter, Pakistan kept losing wickets at regular intervals, meaning that they were never able to generate a head of steam.
However, akin to many a time before, Babar Azam stood up to be counted as he stabilised the innings and laid the foundation for a flourish towards the end. Fortunately for the hosts, the opener found an able ally in Iftikhar Ahmed.
The middle-order batsman came into his own following Babar’s dismissal as he carted the Aussie bowlers all across the park to propel his side to a slightly below-par total of 150. In the process, Iftikhar finished unbeaten on 62, with his innings laced with 5 fours and 3 sixes.
In reply, Australia got off to a rollicking start as they plundered 21 runs in the opening couple of overs. However, the wickets of David Warner and Aaron Finch in quick succession set them back, thereby enabling Pakistan to harbour a glimmer of hope.
Yet, that optimism was sucked away rather swiftly as Steve Smith conjured a masterful inning of 80*. The right-hander showcased immense dexterity to get on top of the visitors’ bowlers and ensure a comfortable victory.
And, even though Pakistan had a few moments in the game, they eventually were at a premium, meaning that the home side continued their unbeaten start to the summer.
The series now moves to Perth on the 8th of November as the tourists look to throw a spoke in a seemingly invincible Australian wheel.