About the Match
Nerves are being tested as teams try to survive the knock-outs and make it to the next stage; co-hosts Australia will take on Pakistan in the 3rd quarter-final match of the tournament at Adelaide on 20th March. The two teams have gone head to head eight times in the world cup before and each has won 4 games apiece to make the upcoming contest look like a close one to call; while Australia has performed better than the opponents so far, they will certainly be wary of Pakistan’s unpredictability. It will be tough fight between these cricketing giants and the crowds are surely anticipating a thriller on the cards for the Friday game.
Glenn Maxwell scored his first ODI century as he posted a quick 102 off 53 against Sri Lanka to register the second fastest world-cup hundred; his return to form is good news for the Aussie batting line-up. Aaron Finch and David Warner have been opening well and with players like Steven Smith, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and Maxwell, the middle order can definitely take on the Pakistani pace attack to score the big runs. The bowlers too have been stupendous at their job, taking wickets consistently and stifling the opposition with their line and length. Mitchell Starc, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Marsh have all got wickets regularly here and with the help of others like Maxwell, Watson, Hazlewood and Doherty, the bowling unit exhibits depth and variety. The team can experiment with many combinations and will definitely come out with a good strategy to counter the Pakistanis; and they will certainly be cautious and methodical in their approach to register a win here and keep their campaign alive.
With pacer Mohammad Irfan being ruled out due to injury, the Pakistani contingent suffered another blow but they will fight it out with the resources at hand to outsmart the hosts. Sarfraz Ahmed’s 101 off 124 against Ireland that helped them reach the quarter-finals will surely give them a ray of hope and along with opener Ahmed Shehzad, the batting line-up looks good to build a solid foundation. The middle order has to be effective and must keep the scoreboard ticking; Haris Sohail had partnered earlier with Ahmed Shehzad to put up a 160-run stand against UAE and he along with players like Younis Khan, Misbah ul Haq, Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Akmal should look to build strong partnerships yet again. Shahid Afridi is a strong finisher but his inconsistency has been always worrisome; his all-rounder skills along with the talented line up of bowlers like Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan and Ehsan Adil will provide a great impetus against the strong Aussie batting line-up. If the team can keep a cool head above its shoulders and plays smart on the field with quick thinking, they can surely give a tough challenge to Australia.
The contest on Friday between Australia and Pakistan will surely see some fireworks across the park with both teams trying to exert dominance right from the first ball. Although Pakistan is known to cause serious upsets in crunch games in the past and will put their best efforts here, Australia with a better understanding of the ground conditions is better placed to win and make it to the semi-finals.
Australia, 1.20 @ Bet365