PAKISTAN V AUSTRALIA IN UAE
Abid Ali made an impact on his ODI debut with a neatly paced century © AFP
When Pakistan’s cricketers walk out to the middle to play the final match of the ODI series against Australia, their sole aim would be to avoid a whitewash. Pakistan had a chance to pull one back in the fourth ODI, but they suffered a collapse as the home side slid to another loss.
It was dubbed as a ‘series of opportunities’ for the players on the fringes of the Pakistan XI. In the fourth game, it finally seemed as one with the debutant Abid Ali and Mohammad Rizwan scoring centuries in a run chase, where their more experienced teammates failed to take advantage of the platform that was set by the duo.
Pakistan wanted to use this series to finalise the last four places of the 15-member squad to be selected for the World Cup. However, the poor performances of the mainstays, alongside Rizwan’s prolific run and Abid’s impressive start to his career, have added to selectors’ problems.
For Australia, the previous match further consolidated their momentum. It was the first time in the ongoing series that they came under some pressure, but they kept their nerves to take a 4-0 lead.
Glenn Maxwell continues to see a remarkable surge in his batting form, and now has two back-to-back match-defining knocks at the back end of the Australian innings. Surprisingly, Usman Khawaja, who has been enjoying a surreal run, despite a 78-ball 62 in the last match, never looked in control. The fifth ODI gives him a final chance to push his case for the World Cup reckoning. Alex Carey, after his maiden fifty in the ODI format, will also look to press his case for World Cup selection.
Abid Ali was a last minute inclusion in the playing XI after Imam ul Haq had to be rested due to high fever. The news from the Pakistan camp is that the left-handed opener is feeling much better. The final call on Shoaib Malik’s availability will be taken on the day of the match.
Probable XI: Imam ul Haq/Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saad Ali, Umar Akmal, Imad Wasim (c) Junaid Khan, Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Amir/Mohammad Hasnain, Yasir Shah
Glenn Maxwell did not make it a secret about Australia’s desire to whitewash the home team. And that could be an indicator the tourists are set retain the same playing XI which secured a thrilling win.
Probable XI: Aaron Finch (c), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kane Richardson, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa
Did you know?
Since adopting the UAE as their ‘home’ venue, Pakistan, amongst the other grounds in the country, have had the worst win/loss ratio (0.66) in Dubai
None of the Pakistan bowlers have a strike rate of under 60 in the series.