Australia opt to bowl in Pakistan's 'backyard' in T20 World Cup semi-final

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Meeting of minds: Captains Aaron Finch and Babar Azam before the start of Thursday's semi-final (AFP/Indranil MUKHERJEE)
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Australia skipper Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to bowl against Pakistan in the second semi-final of the Twenty20 World Cup on Thursday as he looked to break the Asian giants' dominance in their UAE "backyard".

Pakistan, led by Babar Azam, won all of their five Super 12 matches, the only team in the tournament with a perfect record.

Both teams come in unchanged into the contest in Dubai that has witnessed 10 out 11 matches won by the team batting second.

"The wicket will not change a lot over the course of the game," Finch said at the toss.

"The guys are relaxed, there'll be obvious nerves. This pitch has played true right through the IPL (Indian Premier League) and the World Cup and expect more of the same tonight."

Australia are five-time winners of the 50-over World Cup but await their first T20 World Cup crown in six attempts.

Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik are fit to play after they had fever in the lead up to the match but tested negative for Covid.

Babar said their experience of playing on UAE pitches will be useful.

"We'll have to put runs on the board and then defend it," said Babar, who has scored 264 runs including four half-centuries in the tournament.

"It's an honour to lead this group of players, we are looking forward to playing some good cricket. UAE (United Arab Emirates) is our backyard, we know these conditions well."

Pakistan, the 2009 T20 World Cup champions, came into the tournament with 10 successive wins in the UAE.

The winner will play New Zealand, who beat England in the first semi-final, in the title clash on Sunday in Dubai.

Teams

Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch (capt), Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood

Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (capt), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi

Umpires: Chris Gaffaney (NZL), Richard Kettleborough (ENG)

TV Umpire: Joel Wilson (WIS

Match Referee: Jeff Crowe (WIS)

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