About the Match
Pakistan had a golden opportunity notch up their first international win of the tour in the first ODI but somehow ended up losing it by 92 runs. Can they pull off an improved performance in the second ODI or are things only about to get much worse for them?
2nd ODI Preview
At 78 for 5 and the entire top order back in the hut, Australia would have been nervous. They were on the brink of an ODI loss against Pakistan but their remarkably long batting order bailed them out. Glen Maxwell, Mathew Wade and Pat Cummins all played useful hands to take them to a winning total.
The question on every Pakistani fans mind would be this. If Australia can beat them without their top order contributing and a front line fast bowler resting, what happens when they do bat well collectively?
David Warner and Steve Smith were out on successive deliveries in the fifth over of the first match. Expect them to bounce back on a Melbourne pitch expected to be true and full of runs. Travis Head also played a small cameo before getting out but we feel that he would have gained a lot from his excellent bowling stint in the previous match.
Head bowled his entire quota of overs for the first time in his career and only gave away 28 runs. This confidence could rub off on his batting as well, and we think that he may be in line for some big runs.
Chris Lynn seems to have some trouble adjusting to the requirements of the International game. He is immensely talented and we rate him highly. He may get the platform that he requires in this game to play freely, particularly, if Australia ends up batting first.
Josh Hazelwood will also slot into the team in place of Billy Stanlake giving more teeth to the Australian bowling attack. Mitchell Starc missed out on the wickets in the first game but we think that he will back in prime form for the second ODI and could be the highest wicket taker here.
Pakistan is going into this ODI with a lot of questions. The first is about the fitness of Azhar Ali? He was injured in the first game and likely to miss out. The other is about captaincy. If Azhar Ali is unfit, Pakistan will be without their captain or vice-captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Will Pakistan go back to Mohammad Hafeez for this match who is on a comeback trail or hand it over to someone young like Babar Azam?
The Pakistani bowlers performed very well in the first game, particularly Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim. They not only took wickets but kept the scoring rate down as well. Imad Wasim appears to be a player who fancies a fight in the middle. Back him to pick 2 or more wickets in the second ODI as well.
Mohammad Rizwan was disappointing and seemed to be stuck in second gear throughout his innings. If Shoaib Malik is fit for this game then he should replace Rizwan immediately and strengthen the lower order for Pakistan.
The visitors are capable of springing a surprise on the hosts as they showed in the first game, however, they need everything to go right for them to be able to come up winners. The bowling did well in the first game but the batting failed.
Babar Azam looked very good before throwing it away and he is our pick for top scorer on the Pakistani side. Mohammad Hafeez is also someone who we think will score well in this match.
We think it is unlikely that Australia will give Pakistan an opening once again in this series. Back Australia To Win