Pakistan vs Australia 2019: 1st ODI, Sharjah – Match Preview
Australia will look to continue the momentum they got beating India against a weaker Pakistan team – who have rested their senior cricketers, when they clash against each other in the first ODI at the Sharjah Cricket Ground on March 22 (Friday).
Australia look to fine-tune their combination
Meanwhile, the Aussies are coming back from a series win against Indian National Cricket team. They scripted history beating Virat Kohli & Co 3-2 after going 2-0 down initially. However, a just a month ago from the series win, the defending World Cup champions were down with serious questions. So much changed for Australia in that India series. Aaron Finch ended a run drought with his first fifty-plus score in ten innings. Usman Khawaja has laid serious claim to the opening slot for the first time since his comeback to the ODI side with two centuries and a 90 against India. With their return to form, Australia now suddenly seem to possess a potent top-order.
Glenn Maxwell has found the right tune while Peter Handscomb has picked up at the right time. Moreover, the emergence of Ashton Turner in the lower-order has provided Australia with a problem of many now. The bowling department has also clicked with Pat Cummins leading the charge.
However, the only thing ailing Australia is a stomach bug that has hit the team since arriving in the UAE. It has already cast doubt over Maxwell’s participation in the first ODI. Lyon also missed training on Tuesday. Nathan Coulter-Nile, who returned to Australia midway through the India series, has joined the side in the UAE.
Pakistan test their bench strength
On the other hand, Pakistan have rested some senior players considering their workload. Although they find themselves in the sixth place in the ICC ODI Rankings, they have not lost an ODI series in UAE since 2015. Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, top-order batsmen Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam, leg-spinner Shadab Khan, and fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi have all been rested. Mohammad Hafeez has also not been considered as he continues to recover from thumb surgery. Shoaib Malik will don the captaincy hat in Ahmed’s absence.
Meanwhile, veteran wicket-keeper batsman Umar Kamal has got a recall after playing his last ODI in 2017. This is will be his first series since he was sent back during the 2017 Champions Trophy due to fitness issues. The selectors have added a few new names to test their bench strength ahead of the showpiece event.
Date & Venue: March 22 (Friday), Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Harris Sohail, Saad Ali, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari, Yasir Shah
Australia: Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Adam Zampa
Head to Head:
In the 98 games, they have played against each other, Australia have won 62 of them while Pakistan have only 32 matches. Besides, one match ended in a tie while there were no results in three games.
The Sharjah Cricket Stadium has for long been Pakistan’s bastion in one-day cricket. Their 83 wins at this ground are by far their highest at any venue, with Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium coming in second with 31 victories.
Shoaib Malik (7,379 runs) is three runs away to become the fifth most ODI run-scorer for Pakistan. He will surpass Javed Miandad who scored 7,381 ODI runs.
Glenn Maxwell (47 wickets) needs to pick up three more wickets to complete his 50 ODI wickets. He will be 11th Australian spinner to take 50 or more ODI wickets. Moreover, he will also become the ninth Australian cricketer to score 2,000+ ODI runs (2,442 runs) and also to pick up 50 or more ODI wickets.
The pitch has been on the slower side with slow bowlers creating a massive impact in the game. The ball will come nicely into the bat and batsmen with more patience is likely to excel at Sharjah.
The average first innings score in this ground 223 runs while the average second innings score is 189. The highest total achieved in this field is 364 runs by Pakistan against New Zealand.
The temperatures will hover around 27 degrees Celsius and will go down as the game progresses gradually. However, it will be humid out there is Sharjah, and the real fee will be more than that of the exact temperatures.
Although there will be intermittent clouds at the start of the game, it will go away eventually. Moreover, there are no chances of rain thus making it a full fifty-over affair.
Both Australia and Pakistan are coming from the back of a five-match ODI series against India and South Africa respectively. While Australia won the series 3-2 – first in the last 12 months, Pakistan went down 2-3 fighting against the Proteas. Meanwhile, Pakistan players have recently taken part in the Pakistan Super League – playing too many matches in a tight schedule. As a result, they will be tired which can prove to be detrimental for them.
On the other hand, the Aaron Finch-led side is oozing with confidence after beating the second-ranked ODI side. Their main aim will be to continue playing the same brand of cricket and set the tone going to the ICC World Cup.
Considering all the aspects, Australia will be on top when they go out for the first ODI at the Sharjah Cricket Ground.
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