Sat, 30 May 2020

Australia's balance in question against Pakistan threat

12 Jun 2019, 04:42 GMT+10

Pakistan WLLLL

In the spotlight

David Warner is scoring runs, but not at the rate that everyone has become accustomed to and that Australia ideally need him to. In the space of three innings at the World Cup, he has twice set a new mark for his slowest ODI fifties. Against Afghanistan, it wasn't an issue, but needing 353 against India, it left Australia well behind the required rate. Team-mates have come out in support, with Glenn Maxwell saying conditions have been trickier than expected, but Australia need some impetus at the top. At the very least, if Warner is going to soak up a lot of deliveries, he needs to bat through for a big hundred.

Four years ago, Wahab Riaz was half of one of the most thrilling duels of the 2015 World Cup as he put Shane Watson through the wringer which a vicious spell of short bowling in Adelaide. Little more than a month ago, it did not seem like Wahab would be back for the 2019 event but a typically last-minute change of plans altered that. Against England, he shipped 82 runs but, crucially, claimed three wickets to help secure Pakistan's victory. Australia's top order was rattled by the West Indies bouncers. Can Wahab reprise 2015?

Team news

Stoinis' injury leaves Australia with two ways to go, both significantly changing the make-up of the team. They can either bring in Shaun Marsh, which would leave Maxwell as the fifth bowler, or add another frontline bowler which would shorten the batting order - although Stoinis hasn't contributed many runs of late.

Australia (possible): 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Shaun Marsh, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Jason Behrendorff

Against Australia, there is always the temptation to play more spin, so, ideally, Imad Wasim should into the equation. But the weather and conditions could have a say in team selection too. Pakistan are keen to play the same top seven from the England game and keep the batting strong; the bowling dilemma is whether Shaheen Afridi comes in, his swing perhaps more useful than Wahab's pace.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Mohammad Hafeez, 5 Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt & wk), 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Asif Ali, 8 Wahab Riaz, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Shadab Khan, 11 Mohammad Amir

Pitch and conditions

Traditionally a high-scoring venue for domestic one-day cricket, Taunton's first match of the World Cup saw New Zealand's seamers prove too much for Afghanistan's flimsy batting. The forecast is for a cloudy day with a chance of showers so it could again be the quicks who prosper.

Strategy puntStats and Trivia

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