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Tuesday Nov 05 2019
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No rain means more pain for Babar Azam and co?

Babar Azam and co will have to up their game against a supremely in-form Australia in Canberra today. — Photo: File

Forget form guide, forget team news and forget pitch report. The single most important piece of data today regarding the Pakistan and Australia’s second T20I in Canberra is this: precipitation — 0%.

Rain luckily saved Pakistan from a certain defeat on Sunday but chances of the same happening today are zero, zip, zilch, nada. It means that Pakistan will have to rely on the power and quality of their play alone and not expect natural forces to bail them out.

READFirst T20I abandoned as rain rescues Babar Azam's men

On Sunday, the entire batting sans Babar Azam flopped. If it wasn’t for the newly made captain, Pakistan would have likely folded early and struggled to cobble together a score sizable enough to not be tracked within the 3.1 overs the weather permitted.

The Shy One's exquisite 59 off 38 balls was the only positive on an otherwise wretched day of play for the tourists.

Don’t expect wholesale changes to the line-up though as Misbah-ul-Haq and co had pretty much fielded their strongest line-up in the first T20I. Mohammad Irfan obviously showed his rust but if Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad got at least two straight chances to prove themselves (which they didn’t), there is a good chance Irfan would too.

They could give the young Mohammad Hasnain a chance but then to recall Irfan and give him just two overs (two incredible wayward ones but still) would be a tad unfair. Besides, at this point, there is no guarantee that Hasnain would do any better, this being his first tour of Australia.

Muhammad Musa is the other pace option but what goes for Hasnain in the experience department, goes double for Musa.

ALSO READHeroes and Zeroes from Pakistan and Australia’s rain-marred first T20I

One guy whose place in the line-up could be under threat or should be under threat is Fakhar Zaman. The leftie now has golden ducks in back-to-back matches. With Imam-ul-Haq waiting in the wings, a switch can be made. Don’t hold your breath though.

Who Australia play or don’t play after their front three does not matter. If Pakistan are to win or get a whiff of one, they must dismantle the trio of David Warner, Aaron Finch and Steve Smith as soon as possible. Don’t do that and you pray for a rain bailout.

The second T20I between Australia and Pakistan is scheduled to start at 1:10pm PST.