Pakistan and Australia will lock horns in the first of three T20 internationals at Sheikh Zayed’s Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

The hosts will head into the series-opener as favorites after clinching the preceding two-Test series 1-0.

Pakistan, the top-ranked side in ICC World T20 ranking, had already announced their playing XI a day ahead of the game. It looks to be a fairly settled combination, led by wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed.

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Mohammad Hafeez and Fakhar Zaman will take charge at the helm in the batting order. Zaman will be itching to rediscover his limited-overs form after an abysmal show in Asia Cup, held in the United Arab Emirates last month.

Babar Azam will bat at one down position while the middle-order comprises of the likes of Hussain Talat, Asif Ali and Sarfraz. Down the order, there are Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim for late hitting.

The pace department will be spearheaded by Hassan Ali in the absence of Mohammad Amir, who was left out. Shaheen Shah Afridi and Faheem Ashraf are two other quicks in their lineup.

Shadab Khan will lead the spin attack and will be assisted by Imad.

Aaron Finch-led Australia, meanwhile, have gained some confidence after a comprehensive seven-wicket over UAE on Monday.

Opening batsman D’Arcy Short will be hoping to continue his fine form after hitting an unbeaten 68 against UAE.

Aaron Finch and Chris Lynn both failed to make an impact against UAE and will be looking for big knocks in the Wednesday’s contest.

There will be a tussle between Mitchell Marsh and Ben McDermott for no. 4 position. Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey and Ashton Agar will fill up the lower middle-order slots.

Nathan Coulter Nile, Mitchell Marsh and Billy Stankle will be in line to form a three-pronged seam attack. Adam Zampa will share spin duties with Agar.

Playing XIs:

Pakistan:

Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Hussian Talat, Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi

Australia (Probable):

Aaron Finch (capt), D’Arcy Short, Chris Lynn, Mitchell Marsh/Ben McDermott, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Billy Stanlake

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