Rain may play spoilsport during first Australia, Pakistan T20I

According to weather forecasts, there is 90 per cent chance of rain on Sunday in Sydney

Rain may play spoilsport during first Australia, Pakistan T20I PHOTO: AFP

The ground staff at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) may have their work cut, as rain is expected to play spoilsport during the first Twenty20 International (T20I) between Pakistan and Australia on Sunday.

According to weather forecasts, there is 90 per cent chance of rain, with heavy winds and thunderstorms predicted during the afternoon on Sunday in Sydney.

Pakistan decided to skip training on Friday and is expected to return for an intense practice session on Saturday ahead of the T20I.

Both team captains will also unveil the trophy for three-match T20I series and address a press conference on Saturday.

The Men in Green are likely to drop left-hand batsman Khushdil Shah from the 12-member team, which registered a comprehensive six-wicket win over Cricket Australia (CA) XI in a warm-up T20 match on Thursday.

Babar Azam will be opening the batting with left-hand batsman Fakhar Zaman, in his first T20I as captain.

Hard-hitting batsman Asif Ali is likely to be retained in the playing XI despite failing in the warm-up match, dismissed for a duck, against CA XI.

All-rounders Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan will be looking to trap the Aussie batsman with their spin. While Pakistan’s pace attack will be comprised of left-arm bowlers Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Irfan.

The Aussies are also in red hot form as they completed a three-nil clean sweep of Sri Lanka on Friday.

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The host’s batting is bolstered by an in-form David Warner, who grinded out his third successive half-century in the seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the third and final T2oI.

After scoring a half-century in the first T20I against Sri Lanka, Australia skipper Aaron Finch struck three sixes in his 37-run knock which helped the host chase down 143-run target against the Islanders in third T20I.

Australia will be looking to attack the Pakistani batsmen with short-pitched bowling as pacers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins continue to form a formidable attack.

Pakistan and Australia have locked horns in a total of 20 T20Is, with Pakistan having an upper hand in the overall record. The Men in Green have 12 wins under their belt, whereas the Aussies have emerged victories in seven matches, with one game ending in a tie.

The two teams have only squared off against each other in one T20I in Australia, in which the hosts came out on top after a closely contested encounter. Chasing a modest 128-run target, the Men in Green fell short by only 2 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in 2010.