Opening T20I abandoned due to wet weather

(Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP)

Captains Finch and Babar shine before the first Australia-Pakistan showdown of the summer is washed out.

The result

Pakistan 5-107 (Babar 59no, Richardson 2-16) and Australia 0-41 (Finch 37no) played out a No Result (match abandoned due to rain).

The match in a tweet

Rain, rain go away! An exciting contest scuppered by wet weather after captains Babar and Finch showed their class. On to Canberra!

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Rain pain

The Sydney weather forecast was nothing short of diabolical with thunderstorms predicted to cause havoc in the first Gillette T20I. After Australia captain Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to bowl, a quick downpour forced the players, officials and broadcasters off the field but play started on time. The next interruption occurred in the 14th over, forcing play to be delayed for more than an hour before the teams returned to compete a revised 15-overs-per-side match. The rain returned 3.1 overs into Australia’s run chase, just 11 balls shy of the five overs that were needed to constitute a match. Like that annoying last guest at a dinner party who has nowhere to go, the wet weather then proceeded to hang around too long and the game was abandoned at 5:50pm local time.

Finch flexes his muscles

Chasing a revised target of 119, but more importantly the DLS par score of 34 at the end of five overs, Finch activated berserk mode immediately. He hit his third ball off Mohammad Irfan for four then took down the gentle giant for 26 in his next over. The right-hander crunched two over square leg and slapped three balls through the infield for four. Finch raced to 37 off 16 balls and rocketed the total to 0-41 in 3.1 overs before the rain hit and halted the charge.

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Babar lives up to his top billing

Pakistan captain Babar Azam used an interpreter at Saturday’s press conference but on Sunday he simply let his bat do the talking. Opening the innings, Babar scored 59no from 38 balls as the backbone of Pakistan’s innings. He hit five fours and two sixes, with his first maximum just clearing the rope and the outstretched hand of Steve Smith, who almost pulled off a remarkable piece of fielding which ended in him thudding into the SCG turf. The world No.1 T20 batter hit Mitch Starc for a glorious pull shot for six in the final over to stamp his class and lift his side to a competitive total.

Pick of the quicks

Right-armer Kane Richardson’s good form continued with 2-16 from three overs, while Mitch Starc collected 2-22. It was a tougher afternoon for leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who appeared to be targeted by the Pakistan batters. Zampa bowled the fourth over of the innings, which went for 12, before he finished with 0-30 from three overs.

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You don’t see that too often

In the eighth over of Pakistan’s innings, keeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan copped a rising ball from Pat Cummins on the glove that then trickled down to third man. Rizwan sprinted off and made it back for two only for helmet-clad umpire Gerard Abood to signal one short. Replays showed Rizwan’s bat landed on the popping crease but not over it, meaning Rizwan and Pakistan were docked a run.

The stat

At 37, Irfan became the oldest fast bowler to represent Pakistan in any format since the great Imran Khan in the 1992 World Cup. The left-armer still looked sharp but was taken to by Finch.

What’s next?

The two teams head south for the second T20I in Canberra on Tuesday.