Abu Dhabi: Australia skipper Aaron Finch and coach Justin Langer have plenty to ponder ahead of the must-win second T20 to be held at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday.
Australia’s tour to the UAE so far has been marred with batting collapses in the Test series and they are in need of immediate attention if they are to salvage something from the T20 series.
Finch admitted his boys were blown by Pakistan in the opener.
Australia could only manage 89 all out in response to Pakistan’s 155 for 9 and suffered a humiliating 66-run loss.
His top six batsmen were in and out in a flash — scoring just 22 runs between them in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday night.
“We knew a lot about their bowling attack and felt it was a chase that was gettable,” said Finch. “That power play was horrific, it was like a car crash in slow motion. Opening the batting, it’s my responsibility to get us off to a good start and set up the chase there.”
Finch added that as the skipper he takes responsibility for the setback.
“I think any time that you’re chasing a total like that it’s important you have a solid start and for me to get out in the first over and not give us that, was not good enough,” he said. He was, however, confident of his team bouncing back strongly in the second outing on Friday.
“Yes, absolutely,” he said. “We have a lot of experienced and very good players. One bad day with the bat goes out of the window and it’s important that we go back to basics and when we get to Dubai, hopefully, we can come back stronger.”
Finch was bowled for a duck by Imad Wasim and that immediately triggered the slide. Wasim finished with exceptional figures of 3-20 in his comeback match after a gap of over a year. Faheem Ashraf, too, was equally destructive and his two wickets broke the back of the Australian side.
“That was a huge momentum shift,” said Finch. “The way we bowled in the end of the innings, we carried a lot of momentum and executed really well. To go two down in the first over, he [Imad] definitely got the upper hand on us.”
The Australia skipper did not rule out some changes in the side for the second outing.
Babar Azam, who top-scored for Pakistan with 68, said that the victory is a huge shot in the arm ahead of the second T20.
“Our confidence was high after the Test win and the way we won the first T20 match has also further boosted our morale,” he said. “We were low in confidence following the Asia Cup setback but players have put in a lot of effort. The management has also supported us well.”
Azam said the team’s ploy was to bowl in the right areas on Wednesday night.
“Imad [Wasim] bowled well on his comeback and Faheem also gave good support and that combination did well,” he said. “What we wanted we got early, four quick wickets and then we started to put pressure on them.”
With Shoaib Malik back in the side for the second T20, the middle order will have more depth. Malik is likely to come in the place of Hussain Talat.
“The absence of Shoaib Malik did hurt and though Hafeez bhai filled in that void, he couldn’t finish it,” said Azam. “Malik carries his bat through the innings and so that way we missed him. So once he is back we all can rally around him and build the innings.”