Harare - The two top-ranked Twenty20 international (T20I) teams in world cricket are in Zimbabwe to take part in an eight-day triangular tournament with the home team, starting today (Sunday) here at Harare Sports Club.

Pakistan travel to Zimbabwe as the world's top rated team but if the Australians are able to put their torrid tour of England behind them they could claim that status for themselves. Australia are in dire need of a confidence booster after enduring a 6-0 drubbing across limited overs formats on their tour of England, and ahead of their arrival in Zimbabwe coach Justin Langer insisted "there's light at the end of the tunnel."

Australia slipped down to third in the ICC's T20 rankings after their defeat to England but could come out of the Zimbabwe tri-series with the top ranking if they are able to reverse their losing streak. The challenge is a stiff one, however, as Australia are currently missing six key limited overs players, with Steve Smith and David Warner currently serving bans while Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitch Marsh all recovering from injuries. They will be up against a Pakistan side brimming with confidence after having lost only one of their eight T20 internationals this year.

Looking to extend their success, Pakistan named a full strength squad for their trip to Zimbabwe. They decided not to rest fast bowler Mohammad Amir for this tour, while the contributions of 19-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan will also be crucial in conditions expected to favour spin.

The experienced Mohammad Hafeez will likely return to their top order after his bowling action was cleared as legal last month. "Hafeez warranted a place after clearing his action," said Pakistan selector Inzamam-ul-Haq. Uncapped opener Sahibzada Farhan was also included "after showing good form in domestic matches," said Inzamam. Pakistan will also bank on the experience of captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who has toured Zimbabwe twice before.

Hosts Zimbabwe have had their own side shorn of valuable experience due to a pay dispute between Zimbabwe Cricket and several senior players. There will be a new look to their team when they take on Pakistan in Sunday's opener, with young batsman Tarisai Musakanda tipped to be named as new captain.

The Zimbabweans will also be distracted by the potential outcomes of the ongoing ICC conference, where their cricket board's massive debts are being discussed. The signs are that this could be a difficult first outing for new coach Lalchand Rajput. "To be very honest, I just look at the players who are available and the best 15 or 17 which we have picked," he said. "So my job is to get the 17 who are available and prepare them for the tri-series. I am not interested in who is available or not available. My job is for the people who are available and I want to prepare them well for the tri-series."

The three teams will play each other twice, with a rest day on Saturday before the top two sides meet in next Sunday's final.


ZIMBABWE: Hamilton Masakadza (captain), Cephas Zhuwao, Chamu Chibhabha, Brian Chari, Tarisai Musakanda, Malcolm Waller, Peter Moor, Tendai Chisoro, Kyle Jarvis, Brandon Mavuta, Blessing Muzarabani, Chris Mpofu, Ryan Burl, Solomon Mire, Ryan Murray, Wellington Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura

PAKISTAN: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Fakhar Zaman, M Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, M Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, M Amir, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Sahibzada Farhan.

AUSTRALIA: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth.

Match starts at 1:00 PM

T20I Triangular Series Fixtures

July 1 Sunday Zimbabwe vs Pakistan

July 2 Monday Pakistan vs Australia

July 3 Tuesday Australia vs Zimbabwe

July 4 Wednesday Zimbabwe vs Pakistan

July 5 Thursday Pakistan vs Australia

July 6 Friday Australia vs Zimbabwe

July 8 Sunday Final