The big picture: who benefits?
After hiding against India and South Africa, Australia demonstrated that they were not about to give up their campaign with a defeat. A complete performance with bat, ball and in the field sank Sri Lanka, earning them their first points and improving their negative net run rate. Mitchell Marsh bounced back after two failures, while Adam Zampa’s impressive performance and control in the middle overs is a point of difference for Pakistan’s spin department, which is in particularly poor form at present.
Australia’s failure to contain the opposition openers in two consecutive matches could be a cause for concern, especially when the Bengaluru pitch is expected to be flat. But they will be encouraged by the way they bowled out Sri Lanka for 52 with the last nine wickets in hand, and not just because Pakistan had collapsed in similar fashion in their most recent encounter.
Despite playing a lot of ODI matches over the last eight weeks, the jury is out on the merits of this Pakistan team. The hysteria generated after the defeat to India has taken the debate to extremes, but it is not so much a blank canvas as an abstract picture, which can be interpreted in different ways, without being able to uncover any objective truth. Of. Out of.
They have an amazing bowling attack, although most of it is either injured or out of form. They have a sensational top three but again refer to the previous sentence for warning. Their middle order has finally started to perform, although they lost their last eight wickets for 36 runs against India. They have a generational all-rounder in Shadab Khan, but he is in such poor form that his place in the starting eleven is not assured. They have recorded two wins from three, although they came against an associate nation and the only winning team in this tournament.
Perhaps at the beginning of the tournament, only the broad brushstrokes have been committed to the canvas, and the full picture has yet to emerge. But Australia vs Pakistan in the World Cup historically always matters. As both sides try to rejuvenate a campaign that has not had the best of starts, it is worth remembering that there has never been a World Cup where at least one of these two has made the last four. Have not made space. In Bengaluru, one would take another step to close that deal.
Australia WLLWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight: Maxwell and Babar
There was some uncertainty over the condition of Adam Zampa’s back, but Pat Cummins confirmed that he is fully fit. Australia should field an unchanged team.
Australia (Probable) 1 David Warner 2 Mitchell Marsh 3 Steven Smith 4 Marnus Labuschagne 5 Josh Inglis (wk) 6 Glenn Maxwell 7 Marcus Stoinis 8 Mitchell Starc 9 Pat Cummins (c) 10 Adam Zampa 11 Josh Hazlewood
Pakistan (Probable) 1 Abdullah Shafiq 2 Imam-ul-Haq 3 Babar Azam (Captain) 4 Mohammad Rizwan (WK) 5 Saud Shakeel 6 Mohammad Nawaz/Shadab Khan 7 Iftikhar Ahmed 8 Usama Mir 9 Hasan Ali 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi 11 Haris Rauf
pitch and conditions
The pitch at Chinnaswamy Stadium is expected to be flat and the boundaries short. Expect a run-fest, with no chance of rain being disrupted.
Statistics and General Knowledge
- Zampa needs three wickets to reach 150 ODI wickets; The only other Australian legspinner to do so is Shane Warne.
- The 10 ODI World Cup encounters between Australia and Pakistan have been split 6–4 in favor of Australia. The five-time champions have dominated the head-to-head recently, having won four of their last five World Cup matches dating back to the 1999 final.
In each of the last six ODI World Cup matches between these two, the team that lost the toss has won.
“Pakistan is a team that always looks to be on top. Very well structured. They are a really strong team in all aspects.”
pat cummins Not taking Pakistan lightly
Daniel Rasool is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent. @danny61000