Ed Hawkins previews the dead rubber from Dubai on Sunday and says the world No 1 team should be shorter still...
"Pakistan haven’t lost any dead rubbers in that sequence of ten series wins"
Pakistan v Australia
Sunday 28 October 16.00
Pakistan best in the world
Pakistan earned their tenth-successive T20 series win on Friday by beating Australia by 11 runs. It confirmed their status as the best side in the world and it's a shame for them that there's no World T20 this year.
The margin of victory suggests things were closer than they were. After posting exactly one run above the average score (147), Pakistan's bowlers quickly set about finishing off the match as a contest. By the seventh over Australia were three down with 31 on the board. Aaron Finch, D'Arcy Short and Chris Lynn, arguably their three most destructive players, had contributed 12 runs.
Imad Wasim, a Pakistan captain in-waiting, picked up the man of the match award for insane bowling figures of four overs, eight runs and one wicket. It is true that Australia struggle against spin but they shouldn't not be as crippled as that.
With the bat, Pakistan were calm. They recognised early on what would be a winning total and didn't take risks or try to smash it to reach the heights. Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez produced solid mid-40s.
Australia in the doldrums
A humiliating tour for Australia is almost complete. Defeat in game two - coupled by David Warner's sulk-off in a club match back home - means that these are chastening times for a once proud nation. They are terrified of spin.
They have become completely bamboozled by Imad, not to mention Shadab Khan, who claimed two wickets. The psychology needs to change, rather than the personnel. And there's no time left for that. Mitchell Marsh, brought in as a change after game one's disaster, also seemed to have been affected.
Glenn Maxwell is perhaps the only one untroubled. His 52 from 37 balls gave Australia respectability. But, in truth, the game was gone and they were still needing 14 an over at the death even with his heroics.
Mitchell Starc could return to the XI although Australia like to wrap him in cotton wool. Indeed, it would seem pointless risking him if he has a niggle in a meaningless game.
The teams stay in Dubai so ground form from game two holds. As we said, the 147 from Pakistan was pretty much bang on. The previous scores read: 71-133-183-160-115. Australia failed to find any help from the toss and although historically it is better to chase, we're not sure it's that relevant. Indeed, Australia would rather bat first instead of fretting about spin and scoreboard pressure.
Hosts should be shorter
Pakistan are [1.82] and Australia [2.2]. Considering the dominance the hosts have shown so far it is inarguable that they should be shorter in terms of ability. But there is always a nagging doubt in the back of the mind whether Pakistan will take their foot off the gas when it doesn't count.
It's unfair. They haven't lost any dead rubbers in that sequence of ten series wins. They thumped West Indies by eight wickets in April, beat New Zealand by 18 in January and Sri Lanka by 36 in October last year. They have won 13 of their last 14 matches.
The top Pakistan bat market is hugely competitive with Azam, Fakhar Zaman and Shoaib Malik all slightly underrated by Betfair Sportsbook at 13/5, 11/4 and 9/2 respectively. Hafeez's recent form is also so good that a solid case can be made for him at 7/2.
Can Finch continue to have such a poor sequence of scores given he's outstanding record in the last two years? He's 11/4 to cop for top Australia bat. It is understandable that he's swerved, however, particularly with a chunky number available for Maxwell. He is rated at 4/1. Alex Carey is still catching the eye at 12s.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
Back Pakistan to win at [1.82] (1pt)