posted on 2019-06-11 13:25:56
posted by Michael Harrison
Image courtesy: Hindustan Times
Australia: D Warner, A Finch, U Khawaja, S Smith, G Maxwell, M Stoinis, A Carey, P Cummins, M Starc, J Behrendorff, A Zampa/N Lyon
Pakistan: F Zaman, I ul Haq, B Azam, M Hafeez, S Malik, S Ahmed, A Ali, S Khan, H Ali, M Amir, W Riaz
Glenn Maxwell enjoys decimating Pakistan. Read more: https://cricxtasy.com/blog/squiggle/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019-australia-vs-pakistan-key-battle-the-big-show-factor
Having endured a disappointing performance against India, defending champions Australia are set to face a Pakistan side that's buzzing after beating England, in Bristol. The Champions Trophy winners had to share a point in the succeeding fixture against Sri Lanka due to rain and have had a good break. Australia on the other hand, will be seething after the loss at The Oval.
Pakistan's unpredictability was all over the news when they beat tournament favorites England. Several players have come and gone for them over the last decade but the team's modus operandi remains the same - do well with the bat and the bowlers shall do the rest. The batsmen led by Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam did put up a good show in Cardiff.
It was a collective effort right from the openers who put on a solid start to get things underway. With the ball, Pakistan were their mercurial self with the spinners tying things down and pacers producing high-voltage spells. If the captaincy had been more aggressive and proactive, England would perhaps have not got the game as close as they eventually did.
It's unlikely that Pakistan will make any changes to the winning combination although the temptation to bring back Imad Wasim will be there. But with Hafeez and Shoaib Malik doing alright, the think tank might persist with a longer batting line-up. Another case in point is the weather, which could mean a tacky surface.
Australia will be bitterly disappointed after their performance against India, particularly in the run chase. While the bowling has increasingly lacked sting once the spells of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are done, the batting lacked intent for a major part of a run chase where the target was as big as 353.
A tactical blunder was not promoting a big hitter after David Warner's wicket but more crucial was the slow pace of the southpaw's innings. He's looked very sedate in the tournament so far for reasons unknown. The plus for the Australians is the staggering form of Steve Smith who seems to be batting like a dream.
Nathan Coulter-Nile did save Australia with the bat in a game but his mediocre bowling form means that he shall make way for possibly Jason Behrendorff. With the left-armer taking the new ball, the Aussies could have Pat Cummins manning the middle overs, thereby strengthening the unit. Adam Zampa hasn't been on song either and Nathan Lyon could get a game.
Will be updated shortly.
Odds and Predictions
The forecast for this game is quite bad with showers forecast through the day. If the weather does relent, we could have a tacky surface that should help the seam bowlers. Pakistan have the quicks to trouble Australia but their batting is comparatively more fragile than Australia's for such conditions. Overall balance dictates a 60-40 win percentage in favor of Australia for this contest.