Deadline: June 12, 2019 at 3 PM IST
Venue: The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton
Pitch and conditions
James Neesham and Lockie Ferguson ran through the aggressive Afghanistan batting line-up last Saturday, picking 9 wickets between them. Given it has been raining this week, expect the pacers to dominate yet again. The pitch, which has a thick layer of green grass, has been under the covers.
Note: Make your fantasy cricket team by knowing the statistics.
Probable XI for Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Steven Smith, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Mitchel Starc, Adam Zampa/Nathan Lyon
Probable XI for Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Asif Ali, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir
Head-to-head in World Cup
Australia (5) – Pakistan (4)
Down memory lane
It is difficult to pick favourites when Australia and Pakistan meet in World Cup. Until the last edition, the scoreline read 4-4. It would have been 5 in favour of Pakistan, but their habit of dropping catches at crucial intervals cost them the trophy. However, that contest isn’t remembered for the drop catch, Shane Watson’s heroics, or Australia’s victory. It is rather celebrated for Wahab Riaz’s spell of fiery pace bowling. He ended up taking 2 for 54, but as often is the case, the scorecard does not unveil the entire story.
Both teams have a leg-spinner each at their disposal, but they will have very little role to play on this green track. Instead, the batsmen will have to face the heat from the pacers.
Mohammad Amir will be pitted against the belligerent opening duo of Aaron Finch and David Warner. We saw how the Australians were troubled by the West Indian quicks. If Amir gets his line right, the wickets column will tick more than the runs column. If he doesn’t, Pakistan will lose the momentum right away. While Warner has two fifties to his name already, Finch does not bother about milestones, making sure he gives a rampaging start to his side.
Let’s suppose Amir gets an early wicket. Pakistan will be ecstatic but only until they see Smith take the crease. It is the second-most prized scalp, only after Virat Kohli. Against West Indies, when Australia were bamboozled by pace, Smith looked untethered, scoring a resilient innings of 73 runs off 103 balls.
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins will face the southpaw pair of Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman. However, Pakistan too have a strong No. 3 in Babar Azam, who is ranked 8th in the ICC ODI Rankings for batsmen. He has a class-apart technique which allows him to succeed on any given wicket.
Both teams have a power-hitter in their middle orders: Asif Ali and Glenn Maxwell. Although Asif is new to international cricket, his skills are no inferior to Maxwell’s. Both can change the complexion of the game in no time.
That being said, it all depends on the toss. For all the right reasons, captain will look to bowl first. How many pacers will you pick in your fantasy team?