Steve Smith masterclass guides Australia home over Pakistan at Manuka Oval

Steve Smith produced another masterclass with the bad to help Australia beat Pakistan. Picture: Getty Images
Steve Smith produced another masterclass with the bad to help Australia beat Pakistan. Picture: Getty Images

Some say he will be talked about in the same manner as Sir Donald Bradman.

So it was somewhat fitting those in the grandstand bearing the name of the greatest of all time rose to their feet in admiration of another Steven Peter Devereux Smith masterclass.

The Sutherland Shire superstar batsman led Australia to a seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in front of 8848 at Manuka Oval on Tuesday night.

Smith scored 80 not out (51) as Australia chased down Pakistan's 6-150 with nine balls to spare to take a 1-0 lead heading into the final match of the three-game Twenty20 series.

Few batsmen anywhere in the world can play such unorthodox strokes and boast all the answers regardless of what is sent down at him.

Smith does not boast the power of the likes of David Warner and Aaron Finch, nor the footwork of many that have gone before. It matters not. The wagon wheel showing where his runs came from won't even do him justice.

"If you look at my batting record in Twenty20 internationals, it's not crash hot. Bear in mind I did play my first 25 games as a spinner, or thereabouts, in this format," Smith said.

Pakistani fans turned up in droves. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

Pakistani fans turned up in droves. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

"That's when I was batting at No. 8 or 9, so coming in and slogging maybe half a dozen balls is never easy, so it's going to affect your record at some point. I enjoy playing Twenty20 cricket.

"I don't doubt my ability, I know the tempos of the game I need to go at. I've played a lot of cricket now. I may not be as strong as some of the other guys, I use placement and timing."

For some time it seemed as though this would be Warner's night after a piece of individual brilliance in the field removed Pakistan captain Babar Azam for 50 and helped keep the tourists to a below-par total.

Alas, Warner's golden run at the top of the order came to an end with his first dismissal of the international summer as Mohammad Amir rattled his stumps for 20.

"My role in this team is to fix it if the two up the top don't come off. They've been exceptional in these games we've played against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. If they don't come off, it's up to me to fix it," Smith said.

"That's the role they want me to play and I am comfortable in that role. The top order have to talk the onus upon themselves to get the job done the majority of the time.

"If you look at the stats in Twenty20 cricket, the top three or four generally win you games of cricket. It's our job."

Warner will still enter the final match of the Twenty20 series against Pakistan with 239 runs to his name from his past five outings.

And the Australian XI will head to Perth on Friday as cricket's most in-form Twenty20 outfit after accounting for a side which had been clinging onto its No. 1 ranking.

Iftikhar Ahmed played a starring role for Pakistan as fans turned up in droves to the clash in Canberra - but it wasn't enough to help the tourists to victory. Pictures: Dion Georgopoulos

Iftikhar Ahmed played a starring role for Pakistan as fans turned up in droves to the clash in Canberra - but it wasn't enough to help the tourists to victory. Pictures: Dion Georgopoulos

Babar looked like poetry in motion en route to 50, with every stroke a suggestion Australia's bowlers are still searching for a way to crack the premier batsman in the game's shortest format.

The saving grace for Australia, for whom Ashton Agar was the pick of the bowlers with 2-23, is the fact the 25-year-old stood before them for some time as a one-man army.

"Babar is No. 1 in the world in Twenty20 cricket and the guys have been able to contain him," Smith said.

"He has scored some runs, but he hasn't been able to get them in quick time which has really helped. That comes down to the way all the bowlers have operated and set this series up for us.

"We've got a really good balanced side. The bowlers have done a terrific job so far in all the games we have played. We haven't had to chase a big score yet.

"When we batted first in one game we scored a heap of runs and they didn't have as much pressure on them."

Another cheap dismissal for his fellow opener Fakhar Zaman (2) marks his fifth consecutive single figure score and revives questions about his place at the top of the order.

Iftikhar Ahmed (62 not out) inspired a late flurry with 67 runs from the final three overs to give the visitors an unlikely shot at victory.

Unlikely it was, because they ran into a man named Smith.

Though it wasn't all smooth sailing - Ben McDermott's eventual leg before wicket dismissal for 21 raised questions about the absence of the ball-tracking review system in the Fox Cricket coverage - but it was unavailable on that ball due to an isolated human error.

AT A GLANCE

Twenty20 international series: Game two - AUSTRALIA (Steve Smith 80*, Ben McDermott 21; Mohammad Irfan 1-27, Imad Wasim 1-34) bt PAKISTAN 6-150 (Iftikhar Ahmed 62*, Babar Azam 50; Ashton Agar 2-23, Pat Cummins 1-19) by seven wickets at Manuka Oval. Crowd: 8848.