Athletic

PAK vs AUS Series 2022: Australia Eye Third Spot in ICC CWC Super league

Australia won the first ODI against Pakistan by an 88-run margin, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Australia had dominated for the majority of the game, but Pakistan had a chance when Babar Azam and opener Imam-ul-Haq were on the ground. Once this pair was broken, the batting order collapsed, which suggests Pakistan have an issue in the middle order. The hosts will be hoping to make a strong comeback in the second match in order to level the series. On the other hand, Australia’s target would be to seal the limited-overs PAK vs AUS series 2022 as well as to reach the third spot in the ICC CWC Super League.

Second ODI preview of the Pakistan-Australia Series 2022

Pakistan missed star left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi in the series-opening contest on March 29 due to a knee injury. Latest reports suggest Shaheen Afridi will return to the playing XI and either Mohammad Wasim or Hasan Ali will make way for him.

On the other hand, the Australian squad has been hit hard by COVID-19, but the good news is that all the members tested negative on Wednesday. So, everyone should be available for selection and the expectation is that Australia will field the same playing XI in the second match. The second One-Day International of the PAK vs AUS series 2022 will be played at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore at 4 p.m. (Bangladesh Standard Time).

Pakistan

This series is a part of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, so losing a match means forfeiting 10 valuable points. Given the current scenario of the points standings, Pakistan are in the eleventh position with only 40 points. The most worrying factor is that they have four series left except for the ongoing series. Pakistan need points in order to climb the standings as the top eight teams will advance to the next World Cup 2023.

Since Shaheen Afridi will return to the playing XI, Babar Azam would be anticipating a more disciplined performance from his pace bowling unit. Except for Haris Rauf, the Pacers were a tad underwhelming. Afridi has the capacity to terrify the batting lineups of the opposition. It would be ideal for Pakistan if he could give early breakthroughs. Pakistan’s batting line-up requires more consistent performances in the middle overs since their weakness in this area was revealed in the first encounter.

Probable playing XI

Top Order: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (captain);

Middle-Orders: Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Hasan Ali;

Lower-Order: Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Zahid Mahmood.

Australia

Victory has enhanced the confidence of the Australian campaign, as seen in the first ODI. They had dominated Pakistan all through the game, putting them under constant pressure. The Australian dressing room should be a happy place aside from the threat of coronavirus.

Australia will go into this encounter with two specific objectives in mind: to win the series with a game to spare and to finish third in the World Cup Super League. Australia should consider themselves favourites going into the match after their performance in the first ODI. They would have 80 points if they defeat Pakistan in this match, one point more than India, who are presently in the third position.

Travis Head showed off his batting skills by smashing a 70-ball century in the opening encounter. He, Aaron Finch, and Marnus Labuschagne will be crucial in the middle overs. Since the Australian team has some genuine power hitters, acceleration should not be an issue in the death overs if the platform is set. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa wreaked havoc on Pakistan’s late middle order, taking four wickets. Therefore, he will be a critical asset for Australia in achieving breakthroughs when needed. Apart from him, the pacers must perform well in order to maintain pressure on the batters.

Probable Playing XI

Top Order: Travis Head, Aaron Finch (captain), Ben McDermott;

Middle Orders: Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (Wicket-Keeper), Cameron Green, Sean Abbott;

Lower Order: Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Swepson.

Weather Forecast and Pitch Report

There is no chance of rain in Lahore on Thursday, and the sun is expected to shine throughout the day. The second ODI pitch, which is projected to behave in the same way as the previous encounter, is expected to be a run-fest.

Bottom Line

Australia may start as a slight favourite to complete the PAK vs AUS series 2022 in the second ODI. However, no one can rule out Pakistan, particularly in their own territory. The hosts have the potential to stun the Australian team with a proper game plan and execution on the field. The match promises to be thrilling since it is a do-or-die game for Pakistan.

Source: United News of Bangladesh