Australia vs Pakistan: Second ODI Preview

Batsman takes guard

Australia will look to go two up in their series against Pakistan when the two sides meet at the MCG on Sunday morning. 

After an opener that was surprising, only in the sense that Australia's much-vaunted top order failed to deliver in the face of some aggressive fast bowling, the ODI series moves to the Melbourne Cricket Ground with Pakistan trailing one-nil.

It is worth remembering that Australia have not lost an ODI at the MCG since 2012 - and Pakistan's last win at the venue was back in 1997 against the West Indies.

Australia v Pakistan | Sunday, 15 January 2017 | The MCG, Melbourne | 05:20

To Win Match
Australia 1/4 | Tie 35/1 | Pakistan 3/1

Australia
Australia will be eager for their top order to fire this time around, but will be buoyed by the performances put in by Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade and the tail in the first match.

The hosts are unlikely to change their XI, with the big-hitting Chris Lynn expected to be given another shot at coming good in ODI cricket - after he made just 16 on debut.

Maxwell played fantastically well on his return to the ODI side, hitting 60, and enjoys playing at the MCG which is his domestic home ground. Who could forget the 96 he hit here, against India in January last year?

The other debutant, big Billy Stanlake, bowled just three overs before crying off ill in the series opener, but should be at 100 percent in Melbourne   and his height and pace should cause Pakistan problems.

Australia once again look like the number one team on the International Cricket Council's rankings and the reigning world champions, with the demons of the 5-0 whitewash they suffered in South Africa now a distant memory.

While Wade is no Adam Gilchrist, his gutsy unbeaten 100 off a 100 balls epitomised his appeal to the selectors, who feel the chirpy wicketkeeper-batsman brings a lot of fight to the XI - and the MCG is also his home ground.

Australia showed in the first ODI that they are able to absorb pressure, recovering from 78 for five to post a competitive 268 for nine, which proved good enough for a 92-run victory.

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Pakistan
With ball in hand, Pakistan made an excellent start to the first ODI, but they couldn't finish the job - and allowed Australia to counter-attack.

Pakistan's batting was as weak as it was during the Test series - and they will be heavily reliant on opener Sharjeel Khan, unless Babar Azam can make better use of starts like his 33 at the 'Gabba.

Mohammad Amir caused plenty of problems with the new ball in Brisbane - and will need to get himself back up for this one, especially if David Warner and Steve Smith, who he dismissed the pair with successive balls in the first ODI.

Hasan Ali surprised Australia with his slower balls and cutters and ended up as the pick of Pakistan's bowlers at the 'Gabba, with three wickets, albeit at the cost of 65 runs in nine overs.

Pakistan don't seem to have found their best combination - and have missed the lower-order presence of Sarfraz Ahmed, who has flown home to care for his mother, who is gravely ill.

Skipper Azhar Ali sustained an injury during the first ODI and was forced to retire hurt. He  returned later in the innings, but faces a race to be fit at the MCG. Ali finds himself under pressure, with critics singling out his ODI strike-rate and leadership as weaknesses.

An upset is not out of the question, but Pakistan will need to be far more efficient - and ruthless against a resilient Aussie outfit.



Verdict: Australia 1/4
Australia love playing at the MCG - and have already shown that they can fight back after being put under pressure. We can't see Warner and Smith failing in successive games either - and, if they fire, Pakistan will be up against it.

Value bet: A hundred to be scored in the match: Yes at 5/10
Much like the first ODI at the 'Gabba, more often than not the good surface at the MCG sees at least one batsman get to three figures - and with Warner, Smith, Khan and Ali all hungry for runs, it's solid bet that at least one batsman will ton up.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for @Hollywoodbets.net

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