Smith fires Australia to victory over Pakistan in Canberra

To rotate or not to rotate? That's the extent of Australia's worries so far

In the first T20I at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Pakistan registered a narrow escape after rain played spoilsport in the second innings.

The decision to rest Cummins may well open the way for Sean Abbott to play his first global in more than five years, as Australia look for a victory at Perth Stadium on Friday evening to close out an unbeaten six matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, where so far only Sydney rain and arcane playing conditions have prevented a clean sweep. The way we kept taking wickets throughout the innings was really important because we know how damaging Pakistan can be in the powerplay or at the end so to get wickets consistently I think was the key to the day. Iftikhar has now overtaken Finch and Dhoni and has become the highest run-scorer in T20 cricket, batting at number six in Australia.

Smith raised his fourth T20 half-century off 36 balls when he whipped tall fast bowler Mohammad Irfan to the midwicket boundary. "If you look at my batting record in T20 internationals, it's not crash hot", Smith said.

It soon seemed insufficient, however, as Australia skipper Aaron Finch and Warner stormed out of the blocks, smashing 30 runs in three overs before Warner was bowled for 20 by Mohammad Amir. Meanwhile, Smith ensured that the Aussies lost no more wickets as he took the responsibility of scoring the bulk of runs.

In the 12th over of Pakistan innings, Ali first said no to a double and when he got on strike, he hit an Ashton Agar delivery straight down the throat of Pat Cummins at long-on.

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Iftikhar slogged his way to an unbeaten 62 to give Pakistan a total to defend.

"We are disappointed, Steve Smith took the match away", Azam said. We have to gain the momentum again.

It will mark his only long-form hitout before the November 21 Test, with the team set to arrive in camp in Brisbane on Sunday week.

After Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat, opener Fakhar Zaman, desperately in need of runs, was left floundering against Pat Cummins and was out for two, driving to Warner at mid-off.

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