To credit the Indian tour ODI series comeback win for everything that Australia are doing in UAE will be a tad disrespectful to the squad. However, whatever they did in India gave them the confidence to perform. The swagger is back too, ahead of a potentially series-winning ODI.
The naysayers may say what they want, but the fact remains that Pakistan have lost their last five ‘home’ ODI series to Australia. If you consider home and away, Pakistan have lost their last six bilateral ODI series to the Kangaroos.
Not just history, even form is against them. Numbers from this series alone indicate that only two Pakistani players have aggregated above 100 so far and both have done that with a century each.
Haris Sohail (135 runs) is still a long way away from staking a claim from a trip to the UK, but it is the ineffective bowling that is a major concern.
For a side that is often blessed with potent bowlers, Pakistani bowlers have taken just three wickets this series. At least half their bowling stocks will be different from the one they field in the ICC World Cup (WC), but are the alarm bells already ringing?
Definitely not for Australia, who are suddenly back on everyone’s favourites’ chart. On the verge of welcoming their star players back into the fold, Australia have moved into a mode of ‘problem of plenty’.
Captain Aaron Finch (269 runs @ SR 96.76) is finding ways of covering up for his form loss over the last ten matches, although lack of game time for the middle-order could be a concern.
As for the bowling, there hasn’t been much to boast about, but the fact that they are drying out the runs is a huge bonus.
Fantasy Cricket- Players to watch out for
Usman Khawaja averages 70.71 over the last seven ODIs with a low of 24 and five 50+ scores. Mr. Consistent?
A century in the second ODI (115) did no harm to Mohammad Rizwan’s chances of making the WC squad, but can he do that as a specialist batsman?
PAK vs AUS 3rd ODI – Expected Playing XI
Pakistan: Masood, Imam, Akmal, Sohail, Malik(C), Rizwan(WK), Wasim, Yasir, Usman/Junaid, Hasnain and Abbas
Australia: Finch(C), Khawaja, Marsh, Handscomb, Maxwell, Stoinis, Carey(WK), Cummins/Kane, Zampa, Coulter-Nile and Lyon.
The last time Pakistan lost four ODIs in a row was in January 2018. Pakistan haven’t lost three games in a row in UAE since November 2015, a run of 12 completed ODIs (W9, L3).
Pakistan have won four of their last five bilateral ODIs at this venue. The Kangaroos, however, have won three of the five H2H matches at this venue.
Australia have won only one of their last seven bilateral ODI series.