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Ever since Australia's resounding win in the third ODI against India, it's been one-way traffic for them. With their win against Pakistan in the third ODI at Abu Dhabi, they've completed their second consecutive series win in short span of time - something which was only a pipe dream not long ago. One can argue that Pakistan haven't been at their best in the series, the manner in which the Aussies have imposed themselves has been majestic. The two teams will now move to Dubai to play the fourth ODI of the series which is to be played on the evening of 29th March. With batsmen and bowlers all doing reasonably well, Australia will be well-assured of their lineup and we might see them experimenting whereas Pakistan will try to get their combination right and fine tune it with ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 just around a couple of months away and not many matches to play with prior to that.
Although Pakistan rested their five key players coming into the series and their skipper asserted at almost every post-match interview and press conference that they are only testing their bench strength, the lack of contest in all games of the series has been worrisome not just for the fans but also for the management.
Pakistan have changed and chopped their side on all three occasions, but none of the changes appeared to be working. Their bowling, in particular, has been listless which hasn't caused any sorts of troubles whatsoever for the Aussies. Usman Shinwari was a refreshing change for Pakistan as he not only kept things quite early in the match but also dismissed dangerous Usman Khawaja in the first over of the match.
Haris Sohail and Mohammed Rizwan, who both scored a century each in the first two matches respectively, failed to come to the terms of the slow and low Abu Dhabi surface as Patrick Cummins sent them packing. Losing three wickets pretty early in the innings, Pakistan looked down and out but were bailed out by an important stand between Imam Ul Haq and Shoaib Malik only to nosedive again after the stand was broken.
Overall, Pakistan has looked a lot different side as compared to the one in South Africa. While playing a depleted side to test best-strength is the most prominent argument for it, fatigue could also be a major factor. Most members of the squad have played exhaustively in recently concluded Pakistan Super League and adjusting to the heat in this part of the world has always been tough even for the fittest and the weight of three back to back losses can multiply the impact. It will be interesting to see how they fare in the fourth ODI of the series.
Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Saad Ali, SI Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Usman Khan, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain.
Exactly opposite to how things have been for Pakistan, everything has fallen precisely in the right place for the Aussies. Aaron Finch, their swashbuckling batsman cum captain, has been in superb form and narrowly missed a century and consequently a record to his name in the third ODI of the series. On a surface where scoring runs was a laborious job, Finch played an instrumental knock of 90 runs albeit in 136 deliveries and kept their innings together.
Australia won the earlier two matched by an identical margin of 8 wickets and hence their lower middle order wasn't tested until the last match. Peter Handscomb looked in sublime touch before perishing for a well-made 47 off 43 deliveries and Glenn Maxwell finally exhibited his demolition skills as he wreaked havoc on Pakistani bowlers in the death overs.
With six wins on the trot, the Aussies appear to be peaking just at the right time - just before the marquee ICC event. Much of the credit goes to the way they've handled spin after their nightmarish in the home series against India where run Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, and Ravindra Jadeja. Their batsmen have been brilliant in handling spin whereas on the other hand the Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon have not only kept things tight in the middle over but have also managed to pick wickets at regular intervals.
Although there is almost nothing left to experiment for the Aussies, we might actually see one of their paceman being rested. However, that is something that they've done regularly throughout this series and still have been imposing enough. They have so far been several notches above the Pakistan side and it won't be easy to beat them in the fourth ODI of the series as well.
Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, KW Richardson, Nathan Michael Lyon, Adam Zampa.
Considering the way Aaron Finch has done in the series, picking him is a no brainer. Similarly, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, and Glenn Maxwell have done exceedingly well in their last few outings and pick themselves. For Pakistan, Shoaib Malik, Usman Shinwari, and Imad Wasim have been more consistent and have a strong likelihood of scoring more points than their peers in the upcoming fixture. Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, and Usman Shinwari are our pick for the bowlers and Mohammed Rizwan, who plays at a higher position than Alex Carey is our choice in the wicket-keeper slot.
here's been a difference of day and night as far as the performances of the two sides is concerned in the series so far. While Australia have managed to tick all boxes, things haven't been as breezy for Pakistan. While Pakistani batsmen have shown glimpses of individual brilliance, the lack of partnerships has hurt them. Australia, on the contrary, have been fluent in all departments of the game. Aussies have arguably been a better balanced, more consistent, and a more potent side and is, therefore, our pick to win the fourth ODI of the series as well.
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