ODI series preview: Pakistan v Australia
Pakistan may speak of being confident of victory in this ODI series in the UAE, but one imagines that they’re rather nervous behind the scenes, given their dismal batting and lack of premier spinners.
Australia romped to an easy win in the one-off T20, where Pakistan lost nine wickets and failed to reach triple figures. This does not bode well for a whitewash avoidance, as coach Waqar Younis admitted.
Pakistan’s batting line up is weak, and without the stabilizing influence of Younis Khan. Say what you like about his reaction to being dropped, but his middle order partnerships with Misbah were often the difference between defeat and… a bigger defeat.
Shahid Afridi is there, and one never knows what he’ll do on any given day, while veteran Misbah will feel the pressure, especially as their young Virat wannabe, Ahmed Shehzad, either fails or thrills. Rarely a solid 30 from him.
The obvious weakness is in the bowling though. With Saeed Ajmal banned and Mo Hafeez injured, the spin pool is shallow, as was evident in the T20. Mo Irfan is back, but he looked like a man who hadn’t played proper cricket in a year.
As such, it’s tough to see the Aussies losing this, no matter how unpredictable Pakistan can be. Most of them are coming off the Champions LEague T20, or county cricket before that, and David Warner has been inspired by fatherhood, it seems.
They are missing Shane Watson, Michael Clarke and Mitchell Marsh, but the back ups are impressive too, with James Faulkner, Steve Smith and George Bailey able to rescue the side if Warner and Aaron Finch fail at the top.
Bowling-wise, they will be thrilled with the news that Mitchell Johnson is fit to play, after he missed weeks of action with a rib injury. He, and Nathan Lyon with his spin, will be looked to for most of the wickets, though Mitchell Starc and Maxwell are able to do so too.
For the hosts, all-rounder Shahid Afridi may have to do the job. One of the most unpredictable men in cricket, he’ll have to find some solid form to help his side out, with ball and bat.
The Aussies also have a thrilling all-rounder on the book in Maxwell, but we reckon the opening pair of Warner and Finch will be crucial. If they get going the game could be sorted in the first 20 overs.
Last Five Head-To-Head Results
2012, Third ODI: Australia won by three wickets in Sharjah
2012, Second ODI: Pakistan won by seven wickets in Abu Dhabi
2012, First ODI: Australia won by four wickets in Sharjah
2011 World Cup: Pakistan won by four wickets in Colombo
2010, Fifth ODI: Australia won by two wickets in Perth
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Umar Amin, Asad Shafiq, Sohaib Maqsood, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Raza Hasan, Mohammad Irfan, Anwar Ali, Wahab Riaz, Junaid khan
Australia: George Bailey, Sean Abbott, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Phil Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner
First ODI: 7 October in Sharjah
Second ODI: 10 October in Dubai
Third ODI: 12 October in Abu Dhabi
Nat Sciver admits England missed experienced players after defeat to New Zealand
The tourists levelled the T20 series with a four-wicket victory at Hove.
New Zealand level T20 series with four-wicket win over England
Captain Sophie Devine struck a half century for the White Ferns.
England should not fear a big run chase against India – Paul Collingwood
Ollie Robinson finally ended the innings of centurion Rohit Sharma on day three at the Kia Oval.
India batsman Rohit Sharma’s ton turns tide of fourth Test against England
Rohit capped his impressive efforts in the series with a superb 127.
Rohit Sharma century leaves England up against it on day three against India
India walked off for tea 100 runs in front on 199 for one.
James Anderson strikes but India wipe out England’s first-innings lead
Anderson dismissed KL Rahul, but fellow opener Rohit Sharma was unbeaten on 47.
Ollie Pope ‘gutted’ at missing out on dream Test hundred at home ground
The Surrey batsman fell for 81 as England were dismissed for 290.
Ollie Pope gives England edge but India openers stall momentum
Pope righted the ship with stands of 89 and 71 with Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali.
Pitch invader arrested after collision with Jonny Bairstow at the Oval
Daniel Jarvis infiltrated the ground for the third time in the England-India series.
Ollie Pope impresses again on home ground as England claim lead against India
Surrey batsman Pope was unbeaten on 74 at tea on his home ground/