Third ODI: Australia eye series win, Pakistan look to fightback

Visitors are high on confidence after thumping back-to-back wins

Third ODI: Australia eye series win, Pakistan look to fightback PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

With a change in venue from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi, Pakistan will be hoping for a change in their fortunes, as they try to save the series.

Australia will be buoyant to seal the series with another victory, as they look to extend their five-match winning streak in One-day Internationals (ODIs).

Pakistan team in focus

Pakistan have lost wickets at regular intervals, which has pegged them back and hampered their chances of scoring  a 300-plus score in previous two outings.

Opener Imamul Haq is having a horrid time with the bat, while fellow opener Shan Masood has not been able to capitalise on his starts.

Pakistan will need a strong start from their openers to post a total, which can truly challenge the Australia batsmen.

Middle-order batsman Umar Akmal wasted another opportunity through a rash shot in the second ODI, and will need to be more responsible in his shot-making in order to avoid being sidelined again.

However, in the same match wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan grabbed the opportunity of batting up the order with both hands. He struck a brilliant century to further solidify his case to be included in the International Cricket Council (ICC) 2019 World Cup squad.

During the second ODI, Pakistan bowling looked listless again as Australia batsmen levelled the record for the highest-ever run-chase at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

All-rounder Faheem Ashraf will take no further part in the series and will either be replaced by left-arm quick Usman Shinwari or pacer Junaid Khan in the playing XI.

Yasir Shah has experienced tremendous success in United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the five-day format. However, he has not been able to translate his Test success into the ODI format, as he again looked hapless in the second ODI.

Pakistan stand-in captain Shoaib Malik has already made his intentions clear regarding testing their bench strength in this series. Thus, top-order batsman Abid Ali could get a chance to make his ODI debut in the third game.

Australia team in focus

Australia captain Aaron Finch form didn’t inspire much confidence before this series. However, back-to-back hundreds in this series have made Finch look almost invincible.

Opener Usman Khawaja has scored 495 runs at an average of 70.7 in his last seven ODI innings. He will look to capitalize on his purple patch and seal the opening slot for himself in the World Cup squad.

Lack of incision from the Pakistan bowling line-up into the Australia middle-order has not given much batting time to the Australia middle and lower-order batsmen. Thus, Maxwell was promoted up the batting order in the second ODI and can expect to play a similar role in the upcoming games.

Lower-order batsman Ashton Turner played a freak knock to win the fourth ODI against India, recently. He can get a game in place of all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, if Australia decides to continue with their rotation policy ahead of the World Cup.

Australia pacer Jhye Richardson dislocated his shoulder in the second ODI and will be heading back to Australia.

Right-arm quick Pat Cummins, who was rested for the first and second ODI, might return to bolster the Australia bowling-attack in Richardson’s place.

Probable Playing XI

Pakistan: Imamul Haq, Shan Masood,  Abid Ali, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik (C), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Junaid Khan

Australia: Usman Khawaja, Aaron Finch(C), Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb,  Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa.