Shane Watson returns for Australia in the T20 matches against Pakistan. Photo: AFP/heraldsun.com.au
Following a hard fought 2-1 series win in the One Day International’s, Australia will be full of confidence going into the opening T20 international against Pakistan in Dubai. With the start of the T20 World Cup less than a fortnight away, several big name players return to the squad including vice-captain Shane Watson and evergreen spinner Brad Hogg. Watson is set to play his first game since suffering a calf injury against England in July, while Hogg will be playing just his third international since 2008 if selected. Skipper George Bailey performed reasonably well in the 50 over matches but is to prove that himself in the shortest format of the game at an international level and will be determined to play well. He has scored just 24 runs from his four T20 international innings.
Like Australia, Pakistan has selected a specialist squad for these matches with the likes Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat Imran Nazir in contention for a start. Gul and Arafat are regarded as two of the finest ‘death’ bowlers in the game, while hard hitting opening batsman Nazir is one of the best 20 over batsman in the game.
Australia has had mixed results in its four Twenty20 matches this year, winning two and losing two. Pakistan lost its three game series against England in February before splitting the two matches in Sri Lanka in June. These sides have met seven times in the shortest format, with Pakistan holding a slight advantage having won four times.
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