AUSTRALIA will suffer more Twenty20 shame tomorrow if it cannot avenge its record first-up loss to Pakistan - it will fall behind Ireland in the world rankings.
Only 0.57 of a ratings point separates George Bailey's men from Ireland after Pakistan thumped Australia by seven wickets with 31 balls to spare - its heaviest loss in terms of balls remaining.
Failure to level the three-game series in Dubai would give Pakistan an unassailable lead and also result in Australia slipping behind the Irish to 10th on the official International Cricket Council table - above only Zimbabwe.
Such a rating would make a mockery of the market forces in Twenty20.
While the semi-professional Irish do not have a player on the roster of any Indian Premier League team, the 13 Australians in the 15-man World Twenty20 squad commanded more than $US6.4 million in fees at the 2011-12 IPL auctions.
Many also hold deals in other Twenty20 leagues such as the Big Bash and competitions in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and England.
The narrow gap between Australia and Ireland is not reflected either in early betting markets for the Twenty20 showpiece.
The Australians are rated a $7 chance with TAB Sportingbet, behind $5 favourite India, world No. 1 South Africa and defending champion England. Ireland is at $201.
Bailey believes his side can recover from the rout, in which Australia made its second-lowest Twenty20 total of 89, and win the World Twenty20, but the team has just two more games against Pakistan and two warm-up matches - against England and New Zealand - to restore confidence before its tournament opener against the Irish on Wednesday week.
''I'm very disappointed and there's plenty to go away and work on,'' Bailey said.
''You don't ever want to be setting those sorts of records. But it certainly hasn't altered my thoughts that we can still be a very good team. I still think we can win it. Definitely. Absolutely.''
Bailey said he couldn't pinpoint one reason for the team's batting collapse.
''It's just one of those things. It's hopefully just a bad performance and one that you won't see again,'' he said. ''Even if we gained a tiny bit of momentum, we gave it back by losing a wicket.''
Australia was sent in to bat in hot and humid conditions on a pitch Bailey said was slow-paced and assisted spinners.
Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, who claimed 10 wickets in the three-match one-day international series, was damaging again with 2-13 off four overs.
Opener David Warner (22) was the only batsman to reach 20 in Australia's dismal display.
Quicks Pat Cummins, Ben Hilfenhaus and Shane Watson took one wicket each in Pakistan's innings.