Pakistan ground out an 11-run win over Australia to seal a series victory with a match to spare despite the best efforts of Glenn Maxwell in Friday's second Twenty20 international.

The designated host posted a modest total of 147-6 on a pitch lacking pace at the Dubai International Stadium, with Babar Azam top scoring with 45.

The batting woes that plagued Australia in the opening T20, in which it was all out for 89 in a 66-run battering, initially returned when it was twice reeling at 31-3 and 73-6.

But Maxwell rode his luck, having twice been dropped, to live up to his billing as 'The Big Show' with a 37-ball 52 and helped set up a grandstand finish that left Australia needing 23 off the last over.

However, it was a case of too little too late and Maxwell toe-ended Shaheen Afridi to Shoaib Malik to essentially bring an end to the contest and render Sunday's third T20 a dead rubber.

Babar scored at just over a run a ball in a measured knock that included only three boundaries.

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His second-wicket partnership of 70 with Mohammad Hafeez (40) never really accelerated, although the latter had clattered a couple of sixes and three fours before pulling Billy Stanlake to deep square leg at the end of the 14th over.

Babar soon followed and Asif Ali (9) clubbed a monster six over midwicket before becoming Stanlake's second victim

Shoaib Malik (14) and Faheem Ashraf (17 not out) boosted the tally and Pakistan were soon into Australia's top order.

Imad Wasim, tormentor-in-chief-from the first match on what was his first international appearance in a year, accounted for D'Arcy Short (2) and Chris Lynn (7) inside five overs, before Aaron Finch (3) holed out to long on off Shadab Khan.

Mitch Marsh added 21 and Maxwell, ably assisted by Nathan Coulter-Nile (27), took centre stage either side of being put down at mid-off and Hafeez dropping him at the cover fence.

A huge swat over long-on was backed up by a Coulter-Nile slog-sweep over that cleared the ropes, before Maxwell smashed one straight back over the head of Afridi.

Coulter-Nile whacked a couple more huge maximums to leave Pakistan sweating, but the loss of Maxwell ended any realistic hope of a dramatic victory as Australia – still without a win on the tour – finished on 136-8.