Ed Hawkins previews game two from Dubai and expects the hosts to make it 2-0 in the series at good odds on Friday night...
"Frankly, it is a bit of a mystery as to why the market can't quite make up its mind who is better"
Pakistan v Australia
Friday 27 October 17.00
Pakistan showed precisely why they are rated as the No 1 side in the world with a comfortable victory in game one in Abu Dhabi. The margin of victory was a bit of a whopper at 66 runs and it could have been even bigger had Pakistan not suffered a collapse.
The hosts looked on course for a big total but could manage only 150 - and that after a late cameo by Hasan Ali. At 105 for one, punters would have been cursing their implosion to 133 for eight. Same old, same old.
So they should not get carried away. They won the game chiefly because of Australian incompetence against spin. Imad Wasim removed both openers and ended up with three wickets and the game was pretty much up. They could manage only 89.
The good news for Pakistan is that Shoaib Malik will play after sitting out game one. This adds ballast to the middle order. Hussain Talat will probably miss out.
Marsh in for Aussies
Having showed some determination in the first Test - when they were widely expected to be routed - there had been some hope in Australia that this tour of the UAE wouldn't turn into a disaster. It's not looking good. They have time to salvage something but their performance in Abu Dhabi was a shocker.
They were in the game at the halfway point so to put up such limited resistance with the bat, let alone zero ability to take the fight to Pakistan, was disappointing.
Aaron Finch, the captain, has said there will be changes. Given that Mitchell Marsh was the only unused batsman it's pretty safe to say that he will be in. Otherwise it will be same as, surely, because the bowlers cannot be blamed. Alex Carey could be moved up the order, though.
Don't expect big runs
There have been 14 night matches at Dubai with a fifty-fifty toss split. Overall in all T20 internationals at the venue, there is a slight bias towards the chaser. We are not expecting a feast of runs by any stretch. Here are the last five first-innings scores: 71-133-183-160-115.
Has to be the hosts
We were guilty of being too cute last time round. Or, perhaps, not showing enough guts. We had correctly identified Pakistan were the superior team (not hard) and they should have been favourites.
But instead of going with them we wanted the toss in our favour, too, for extra security. No matter. We have to front up for this one and bet Pakistan at [1.97]. They should be significantly shorter given the performance of both teams in the first match. Australia are [2.02]. Frankly, it is a bit of a mystery as to why the market can't quite make up its mind who is better.
Malik one to watch
Babar Azam top scored with 68 in game one and he is rated as the 11/4 joint favourite with Fakhar Azam by Betfair Sportsbook. Keep your eye on Shoaib Malik, though, at 4/1. He is their third-best runscorer in the last two years. Sarfaraz Ahmed always catches the eye at big numbers. This time he's rated at 7s.
Carey a bet
Finch is the favourite for top Aussie bat at 11/4 and, even though he managed a duck in Abu Dhabi, he doesn't have much to beat. He is far and away their most reliable batter here. The 11/4 is tempting. D'Arcy Short, his opening partner, is 3/1. We have a suspicion that Carey could be promoted to open. Carey is a canny player and a clean hitter. There are worse bets at 12/1. He doesn't have to open, either. He is more than capable of topping from the middle order. Marsh is worthy of a mention at 7s.
Back Pakistan to win at [1.97] (3pts)