The last time these two teams played against each other in a World Cup encounter was turned out to be an epic battle between Wahab Riaz and Shane Watson (Sydney 2015). Hopefully, we get to see the same kind of action between these two teams despite the weather concerns.
Australia, who started their tournament on a positive note, with a win against Afghanistan, had faced severe issues against India. Against the top class batting line up, their bowling attack was toothless. Here in Taunton, the boundaries are small, but the sign of relief is the pitch which seems to be a green turf for the game. This will eventually help both the teams, but Australia will have an up-hand slightly, mainly due to their better batting line up in comparison to Pakistan.
Marcus Stoinis has been ruled out for this game due to injury so it would be interesting to see who would they pick as his replacement. Australia has won previous all eight matches played between these two teams.
Pakistan is high on confidence after their win against England at Trent Bridge, though their previous match against Sri Lanka was washed out due to rain. They would be hoping for a full game as they can’t effort to share points in 2 back to back games.
On green turf, Pakistan batting has always been doubtful as they collapse easily in such conditions. Their real hope is in their bowling unit which has mostly turned out to be pretty lethal on such tracks. Pakistani bowlers have been pretty good in the past when they had to defend a target, so they would be hoping to win the toss and bat first and see what their batsmen set the goal for the opposition.
Rain will play its part again as per the weather forecast, which means Duckworth Lewis will also play its role in the game.
Players to Watch Out
Bowlers can’t ask for a better pitch and condition to bowl on. So, Starc will be critical for Australia in today’s match. His yorkers can dismantle any batting line up and with Cummins bowling from other ends, would mean that the batsmen will have a tough day. Just don’t bowl length balls to Pakistan should do the trick for them.
Mohammad Amir is a champion bowler in conditions like this where there is help for the bowler to swing and bounce. Australian batsmen have to watch out his spell; else an early collapse is on the cards.
Australia v Pakistan in ODIs:
Overall: Matches 103, Australia Won 67, Pakistan Won 32, Tied 1, No Result 3
World Cup: Matches 9, Australia Won 5, Pakistan 4
Recent Form (most recent first): Australia L W W W W, Pakistan NR W L L L
ICC Rankings: Australia (5), Pakistan (6)
Aaron Finch has 99 ODI sixes on his name, and he needs two more to reach 100 sixes in ODIs.
Both Nathan Coulter-Nile and Shadab Khan need one wicket each to reach fifty in ODIs
Shoaib Malik has taken 96 catches and needs four more to reach the 100 catches milestone.
Australia: Aaron Finch (capt), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz.