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Pakistan and Australia target a winning start

Pakistan and Australia target a winning start in their limited over series which kicks off with a one-off Twenty20, but both teams will miss some key players in their line-up with the home side badly hit by the ssuspension of Saeed Ajmal and injured Mohammad Hafeez.

Pakistan had hardly accepted the cruel fact that they will be without Twenty20 highest wicket-taker Ajmal (85 in 63 matches) before calamity struck once more when Hafeez spalshed a left-hand webbing and with five stitches he was ruled out of not only the rapid-fire version but also from the three one-day which follow.

But skipper Shahid Afridi put up a brave face, saying youngsters have an opportunity to show their potential.

"Hafeez is always a key player," accepted Afridi at the Haier Trophy unveiling. "Its really unfortunate that after Ajmal we also lost Hafeez, but it gives and opportunity to a youngster to fill in and we have some exciting new players."

Pakistan will miss Hafeez's dual role, Afridi accepted.

Left-arm spinner Raza Hasan will be an automatic choice in Ajmal's place while Pakistan may give Twenty20 cap to Saad Nasim who impressed the world-wide audience with his allround skills for Lahore Lions in the Champions League Twenty20.

"It is a fact that both teams do not have some key players but Twenty20 is all about youngsters who on the day can steal the limelight as they have a never-say-die attitude," said Afridi, appointed T20 captain for two years.

Afridi said Pakistan Cricket Board and its selection committee have done well to give youngsters a chance.

"With the World Cup 2015 in mind and then the 2016 World Twenty20 it's good that the PCB and the selectors have focused on youngsters

Australia will also be without Shane Watson (right ankle injury), two in one type player who excels with both bat and bowl on his day while his replacement Mitchell Marsh was also ruled out of the full tour with a hamstring injury. They will also be without talented paceman Pat Cummins because of his involvement in the CL T20 for Kolkatta Knight Riders.

That forced the Australians to bring in top-order batsman Phil Hughes and spinners Steve O'Keeffee and Nathan Lyon -- not part of the T20 squad but with the touring party for the later part of the series.

That lack in strength will put added pressure on new captain Aaron Finch, who replaced George Bailey.

"Not having a couple of big players out of both teams is unfortunate but at the same times it gives the young guys in our team a lot of experience going forward, guys who have performed very well domestically have got their chance., Cameron Boyce (leg-spinner) is going to make his debut tomorrow and that he has bowled exceptionally well in the big bash and bowled well in the game that he played in the champions league and so when u have young guys come in it brings in a lot of freshness and excitement to everyone," said Finch.

Finch stressed a winning start against a dangerous Pakistan team will be important.

"I think it is very important to start a tour with a win. It is a format of the game that we are really confident about at the moment. We have a very balanced team and so going forward I think that whenever you start a tour of with a win it helps the psychological effect of the rest of the tour. With quite a bit of cricket three ODIs and two Test matches a win is going to be really important," said Finch, who holds the record of the highest Twenty20 score of 156, made against England last year.

Finch said Pakistan will be tough to beat, even without Ajmal and Hafeez.

"As regards Pakistan team, they have got such a dangerous batting line up. They have got hitters all through their innings and they have got guys who can take the game away form you really quick.

"So I think it is really important to take wickets the whole way through. In twenty20 cricket If you take wickets consistently that is the best way to slow the run rate. In conditions like this Pakistan can be such a dangerous team so that is going to be the big thing for us."

Teams (from):

Pakistan: Shahid Afridi (capt), Ahmed Shahzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Umar Amin, Sohaib Maqsood, Awais Zia, Saad Naseem, Raza Hasan, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Bilwalal Bhatti, Anwar Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Zulfiqar Babar

Australia: Aaron Finch (capt), David Warner, Kane Richardson, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Steve O'Keeffee, hil Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Sean Abbott, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Kane Richardson, Cameron Boyce.

Umpires: Shozaib Raza (PAK) and Ahsan Raza (PAK)

Tv umpire: Ahmed Shahab (PAK)

Match referee: Javagal Srinath (IND)