Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd ODI Preview: Pakistan expected to come hard after indifferent performance in series opener
Pakistan's top three will have to take the responsibility of putting big runs on the board.
Australia show their strength
Pakistan started the ODI series as favourites but Australia were having none of it. Despite the absence of the likes of David Warner and Steven Smith with the bat and all their top quality pace bowlers, the team succeeded in beating Pakistan in all the three departments in the series opener and Pakistan will come a lot harder at the visitors in this match.
Travis Head, who has been in sensational form in domestic cricket over the last one year, grabbed his opportunity at the top of the order with both hands, smashing a rapid ton with 12 boundaries and 3 sixes while going at a strike rate of over 140.
Playing such a knock in T20 cricket is one thing where you go slam bang from the word go, but doing that in 50 over cricket against a quality bowling attack really shows the improvement of Head as a cricketer.
Green balances Oz XI in absence of Marsh
Captain Aaron Finch did not do that well but it was Head who ensured that Australia got going at a really exciting tempo from the beginning itself. Australia slowed down considerably in the middle overs, credit to the Pakistan spinners and accurate bowling from Haris Rauf.
It was a 30-ball 40 from Cameron Green and the swashbuckling century from Travis Head which took Australia to 313 - a score that was never going to be easy for Pakistan.
The home team never really looked in control of the chase, even when Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam were part of an impressive partnership as they were going too slowly to unsettle the Australians.
Nathan Ellis was very impressive on his one day international debut and allowed only 36 runs while picking up the important wicket of centurion Imam-ul-Haq. The opener made 103 off 96 deliveries but did not get a lot of support from fellow betters.
The slide for Pakistan started when captain Babar Azam was dismissed shortly after his fifty. Pakistan were behind the eight ball partly due to him as well, as he batted at a strike rate of under 80.
After Babar's dismissal, the Pakistan batters just couldn't stop the slide with the pressure of the required run rate. Adam Zampa once again proved to be the star for Australia in the middle overs and picked up four wickets while giving away just 38 runs.
Mitchell Swepson and Travis Head also took two wickets, with Head receiving the Player of the Match award for his brilliant century and contribution with the ball as well.
Pakistan have Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Qadir, Shahnawaz Dahani, Mohammad Nawaz, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Haris and Asif Afridi on the bench but will not like to make too many changes after just one bad game.
Shahen Shah Afridi was rested for this match and the Pakistan management might decide to bring him into the side in place of Mohammad Wasim Jr.
With Mitchell Marsh injuring himself and Ashton Agar and Josh Inglis testing positive for COVID-19, Australia have only two players remaining on the bench in Ben Dwarshuis and Jason Behrendorff. The visitors will remain unchanged.
Predicted Playing XIs
Pakistan - Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Hasan Ali, Shahen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Zahid Mahmood
Australia - Travis Head, Aaron Finch (c), Ben McDermott, Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Sean Abbott, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Swepson
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