Australia vs Pakistan, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Match Preview: Aussies seek revival against rejuvenated Sarfaraz Ahmed and Co

Australia lost their last match to India by 36 runs at the Oval on Sunday, when David Warner was uncharacteristically cautious in compiling his 56, Steve Smith scored 69, and the run-rate required eventually got way beyond the lower-order in the run chase.

The Associated Press, Jun 12, 2019 07:53:38 IST

Taunton: When Sarfaraz Ahmed says past results mean nothing to his Pakistan team, he genuinely means it.

Few would doubt him, either, particularly rival captains at the Cricket World Cup.

Australia vs Pakistan, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Match Preview: Aussies seek revival against rejuvenated Sarfaraz Ahmed and Co

Australia lost their previous match against India by 36 runs. Reuters

Five-time champions Australia swept Pakistan 5-0 in a one-day international series in March. That extended Australia's winning streak to eight in ODIs after coming back from 2-0 down to win a series 3-2 in India.

Australia are again favoured to win the group-stage encounter against Pakistan at Somerset's County Ground on Wednesday, but the odds don't matter. Pakistan were bounced out for 105 in their tournament-opening loss to West Indies but rallied to beat top-ranked England, a pre-tournament title favourite, to end a run of 11 straight defeats.

Sarfaraz and his squad are sick of being dubbed the most unpredictable team in ODI cricket, but it's the most reliable tag for them.

"It's the past. We're not thinking about that," Sarfaraz told a news conference on Tuesday, reflecting on the 5-0 drubbing inflicted by Australia just over two months ago. "Our morale is very high. Momentum is very high. So hopefully we'll do very good against them."

Against England, Pakistan's top order all got starts, with Imam-ul-Haq (44), Fakhar Zaman (36), Babar Azam (63), Mohammad Hafeez (84), and Sarfaraz (55) helping post a total of 348-8. The bowlers kept England to 334-9 in reply.

Australia have won 14 of the last 15 and two-thirds of the 100 completed ODIs overall between the two nations but have only a 5-4 edge in World Cups.

The wins include the 1999 final at Lord's the last time the tournament was in England and the quarter-finals in 2015 en route to winning the title. Pakistan took the early honours in the '99 tournament with a 10-run win at Leeds in the league phase.

The Australians lost to India by 36 runs at the Oval on Sunday, when David Warner was uncharacteristically cautious in compiling his 56, Steve Smith scored 69, and the run-rate required eventually got way beyond the lower-order in the run chase.

Skipper Aaron Finch predicted Warner is just finding his rhythm and his strike rate will improve.

Allrounder Marcus Stoinis strained his side bowling his second spell against India and will miss the Pakistan game and possibly the rest of the tournament. Mitch Marsh is coming as cover as a precaution, and Finch said he's undecided about whether to add a batter or a bowler to the lineup against Pakistan.

"We heard about Stoinis ... Mitch Marsh is on the way," Sarfaraz said. "We're not thinking about them. I'm thinking about my team, so we'll make good planning against them."

With wet weather around, the captain winning the toss will likely want to bowl first and take their chances on the Duckworth-Lewis revised run-rate targets. Pakistan's third game, against Sri Lanka, was washed out without a ball being bowled last Friday in nearby Bristol and the teams had to share the points. The Sri Lanka-Bangladesh game in Bristol was also abandoned because of rain and the South Africa-West Indies match at Southampton on Monday was washed out after 7.3 overs.

Sarfaraz would like his team's chances in a rain-shortened match and has confidence after its unexpected title in the Champions Trophy in England two years ago.

Finch said his team was approaching the match with confidence but noted Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali didn't play in the March series, and Mohammad Amir played only the first game, so he was expecting to face an entirely different attack.

"We've seen consistently throughout, especially ICC tournaments, they get themselves in a position to win the tournament," he said. "And they had a great Champions Trophy. So regardless of what kind of form Pakistan go in with, they're always incredibly dangerous.

"There's no player that you can disregard. They've got a lot of experience on their side, they've got a lot of match winners," he added. "Every time you come up against Pakistan you have to play your best to beat them."

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Updated Date: Jun 12, 2019 07:53:38 IST


World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
India 9 7 1 1 15
Australia 9 7 2 0 14
England 9 6 3 0 12
New Zealand 9 5 3 1 11
Pakistan 9 5 3 1 11
Sri Lanka 9 3 4 2 8
South Africa 9 3 5 1 7
Bangladesh 9 3 5 1 7
West Indies 9 2 6 1 5
Afghanistan 9 0 9 0 0





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 4756 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254