About the Match
Pakistan will be hoping that the ODI’s bring them some more cheer than the test matches where they were whitewashed 3-0. Beating Australia in Australia is never easy although this Australian team is relatively inexperienced and could offer some opportunity. What lied ahead of the first ODI?
1st ODI Preview
Australia is going in with a new look side and has announced its playing 11 on the eve of the match. Chris Lynn and Billy Stanlake will be making their debut, Travis Head will move to the top of the order while Pat Cummins and Glen Maxwell find themselves back in the ODI.
Lynn, who was in ferocious form in the BBL, is going to be our player to watch. His BBL exploits have never quite translated into international success till now but we think that getting his opportunity in the 50 over format right now is the best thing that can happen to him.
He will be playing at the Gabba, a ground he is most familiar with and will love the ball coming onto the bat. Back Chris Lynn for a 50 plus score in his first match.
David Warner is coming off a wonderful test series in which he established total dominance over the Pakistani bowlers. His ODI form is even better though with four centuries in his last six matches. We think he is going to continue in the same vein and could join a small list of players with three consecutive ODI hundreds.
A lot of attention will also be on Travis Head, who has not quite made the big scores that are needed to cement your place in the Australian ODI setup. He is also keeping out Usman Khawaja from the team, a player who would walk into any other team on earth at the moment.
Australia actually has 8 bowling options to choose from not counting David Warner, Steve Smith, and Mathew Wade. James Faulkner is a limited over specialist and can be expected to come on in the death overs, while Billy Stanlake and Pat Cummins will provide the fire upfront.
If Pat Cummins can hold up for the entire duration of the series then he is definitely our pick for the bowler to watch out for and we would back him as the highest wicket-taker on a fast, bouncy Gabba wicket.
Pakistan has a lot more than pride on the line in this series. As the 8th
ranked ODI team in the world at the moment, Pakistan faces a very real possibility of not qualifying automatically for the next world cup. They will want desperately to win although their previous record in Australia does not inspire much hope.
Pakistan has lost their last 8 ODI’s against Australia in Australia and have not won a single match against the home team since 2005. They are also going to be without Sarfaraz Ahmed and Irfan Khan who have gone back home because of family emergencies.
The visitors did manage to inflict a massive defeat on an invitational 11 team in the tour match preceding this series where Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam and Umar Akmal played sparkling cricket. They will once again be the batsmen Pakistan look to for quick runs but replicating their performance against a first choice Australian bowling lineup is not going to be easy.
Azhar Ali had a great test series as a batsman and now as ODI skipper he would be keen to continue his excellent tour. One of the criticisms that he has faced is a lack of urgency while batting and we think that batting with Sharjeel at the top of the order will help him.
We would not recommend betting on Sharjeel to score more than 30 because he is too unpredictable, but a bet of 50 plus runs on Azhar Ali seems to make sense.
Mohammad Hafeez is another world class player that is making his return and could score some useful runs although he has traditionally been poor against genuine pace.
The Pakistani bowling let them down in the test series and the addition of Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali and Junaid Khan should bring some improvement. Imad Wasim is a player to watch out for with his stingy left-arm orthodox bowling, more than useful batting and decent fielding as well.
The truth of the matter is that Pakistan is outclassed in every department against the top-ranked ODI team in the world. This gulf is even more magnified when playing in Australia.
An Australian victory is all but certain and only a brilliant individual performance from a Pakistani player could change that.