Australia vs Pakistan : Advantage Australia but don’t discount Pakistan
Australia vs Pakistan : Pakistan takes on Australia in Taunton County Ground in the 17th match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. While Pakistan is coming off a win against once looked invincible England side Australia got reality check against India. The side is balanced, but tactically they erred in chasing. Maxwell at No.3 could have been an ideal partner as Warner was looking to bat through the innings.
However, the good thing was Aussies didn’t give up till the last two overs when it was apparent they won’t win. In Carey, they found a new hero who struck jaw-dropping half century to send a panic in Indian camp and Khawaja also looks to be getting back in the groove.
Pakistan at a Glance
Pakistan opener gave team good start which was pleasing to see. Even veterans Hafeez, Mallik came good. Wahab, Aamir is looking better with each passing match. Shadab Khan gives Pakistan a healthy option with ball and field. Hasan Ali is a bit of concern and might be replaced with Imad Wasim who can bat as well. However, fielding might be of only difference between the two teams. Pakistan’s poor fielding might be due to dampening spirits of losing 11 consecutive matches. Australia has always been well known for its fielding.
Last Five ODIs
World Cup record
Pakistan has played nine matches against Australia in the World Cup and has won 4 out nine games it played. Pakistan was the team to break Australia’s unbeaten run in 2011 World Cup which started since 1999 WC. So Pakistan knows how to beat Australia in the World Cup.
Furthermore, last time when they faced in World Cup match in 2015, Wahab Riaz bowled the fantastic spell of reverse swing and if Shane Watson catch had been taken who knows result could have been entirely different.
Can Pakistan avenge that loss? Despite the fact Kangaroos beat them 5-0 in UAE, it was not full strength team with Fakhar Zaman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Babar Azam not playing. Pakistan will be keen to prove a point just like India did in the last match. Thus, Australia vs Pakistan will be the battle of self respect for Pakistan.
Weather and Venue
There is a forecast for light rain showers and gentle breeze. Temperature will vary from 9-15 degree Celsius. So it won’t be surprising for the team to bat second if they win the toss at Taunton. The ground with a capacity of 6500 hosted 3 ODI before. The team’s winning toss, have won on all three occasions, twice chasing the target.
India would remember the ground fondly as Sourav Ganguly-Rahul Dravid in 1999 WC recorded first ever 300 runs partnership, 318 to be precise with Robin Singh cleaning up Sri Lankan with 5-31. The only five-wicket haul before Jimmy Neesham joining the FORCE and Lockie Ferguson destroying Afghanistan BATTING.
Players to watch out for
Aaron Finch who had his most consistent series against Pakistan with 451 runs in 5 outings along with Usman Khawaja who scored 272 runs, will be looking to replicate same magic. Even Glenn Maxwell would like to continue the same form which saw him provide consistent outing thereby getting 258 runs in the process in ODI legs.
In bowling, Adam Zampa would want to forget the last match and get some wickets. This will give fresh life to his cricketing career. While team management might provide a final chance to Nathan Counter Nile to see if he can get some wickets against the team. He did well in their backyard with seven wickets in just three matches.
The war of words has begun as Imam Ul Haq, nephew of former Pak great, Inzamam Ul Haq, called Mitch Starc no threat. His partnership along with Fakhar Zaman at the top will be essential. Furthermore, Babar Azam would like to stitch alliance, while others go hammer and tongs. So if Pakistan’s top three fire, it will be an exciting encounter. Amir, Wahab are two key bowlers. However, one should not discount magical arm of Shadab Khan.
It is always difficult to say how Pakistan will turn up for they can choke the throat of any opposition on a given day. They proved this against England. Meanwhile, Australia would have learnt their lessons. David Warner and Steven Smith are slowly getting back to their best and if they can raise their game by another level, Australia should win.
Even in the loss against India, there was not many mistakes or weakness you could make out other than a tactical error of leaving too much to do in the end. More importantly, they got back-staff support in two Australian greats, namely Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer who have pulled the team out of the woods many a time in their playing days. Ponting’s calmness and faith in Australian batting during press conference shows all is well in the camp.
The head and assistant coach would know what would correctly trigger the motivation for the troops in the playing field. So that’s an added muscle. Another aspect of Australian batting which came to display was flexibility. They could push men up-down to maintain left-right combination. Getting Maxwell as high as No.3 a thought which would have gone in after a loss to India.
Given the consistency, Australia still holds wafer thin edge over Pakistan. However, injury of Marcus Stoinis, who provides balance to Australia with bat as well as ball becomes a matter a concern. However, both the team still holds the poll position and result cannot be predicted until the last ball is bowled in Australia vs Pakistan match.