DUBAI (92 News) - When Pakistan take on Australia in the three-match Twenty20 International series in the UAE, it will be the No.1-ranked side against a team with a chance to challenge them for the top spot.
Ahead of the first match in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, 24 October, both captains, however, were keen to play down their side’s prowess in the format.
"We all know Australia are the best T20 team in the world at the moment," Sarfraz Ahmed declared, while Aaron Finch added, “They (Pakistan) are the No.1 side for a reason.”
The teams last played against each other in July, in the tri-series in Zimbabwe. Australia won their first encounter there, before Pakistan came back to win the next two, including the final. That, as well as the two-match Test series just played in the UAE, means the teams are familiar with what they can expect.
Australia lost the Tests 1-0, but Finch, who made his debut in whites then, insisted the 20-over side came with “no baggage”. "There's nine fresh guys that have come into our squad from the Test series so there'll be no baggage from them whatsoever," he said.
"I'm the only batsman out of the top handful that was here for the Test series so I think in that regard, they're just going to come in and play their natural game. They’re all really good strikers of the ball.”
For Pakistan, Shadab Khan is back from an injury break and will be an integral part of the spin attack.
“He’s a world-class spinner,” agreed Finch, adding that they would dig into what they learnt of him in Zimbabwe. “I thought we played him really well in Harare on a wicket that was spinning a little bit.”
Ahmed, meanwhile, was wary of the threat posed by the likes of the big-striking Chris Lynn coming into the squad.
"The previous team, some of the players are not part of [this] team, but Lynn is coming back into the team, Mitch Marsh is back in the team and (Ben) McDermott – I saw him and he played very well in the Big Bash," pointed out Ahmed.
"I [expect] a good contest. Hopefully we will perform well against them."