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Pakistan vs Australia 1st ODI Preview

Written by Rick John Henry for @HollywoodbetsFollow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!


Pakistan vs Australia | Tuesday 07 October | Sharjah | 12:00

Australia began their tour of the UAE with a consummate victory over their nomadic opponents. The one-off T20 means little in cricket’s grand scheme, but will come as a significant confidence boost for an Australian side embarrassingly found out against spin in their last visit to the subcontinent. Pakistan are in a state of flux, missing key players and electing to create opportunities for youngsters instead of persisting with the old guard. Indeed, even the Australians make the tour without a few revered elder statesmen, though strength in depth combined with previous rotation policies hold the tourists in good stead.

To Win
Pakistan 19/10
Tie 35/1
Australia 4/10

Pakistan
This is a difficult time for Pakistani cricket. Despite the Lahore Lions causing a few surprises in the Champions League T20, the national side is something of a mess. Initially both the coach and captain expressed unhappiness in a delayed squad announcement, leaving Pakistan underprepared aside from a few players seeing game time in the CLT20. Younis Khan has been dropped and all indications are that he is out of contention for the World Cup next year. Pakistan seem intent on shutting the door on seniors they view as being over the hill, with both Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal also omitted. Umar Amin and Asad Shafiq have been drafted in as cover in the middle-order. Mohammad Hafeez split the webbing on his hand and will be unavailable for the limited overs portion of the tour, leaving the side a top order batsman and frontline spinner short.

However, undoubtedly the biggest blow comes in the banning of Saeed Ajmal. Found to have an illegal action, Pakistan’s number one threat will be forced to sit out for the foreseeable future. Whether he is able to return as effective as he has been, being the world’s leading spinner since 2011, remains to be seen. 22-year-old off-spinner Raza Hasan has been drafted in as Ajmal’s replacement. Sarfraz Ahmed, wicket-keeper and star performer in the Tests against Sri Lanka with scores of 55, 52, 103 and 55 has been recalled, while Riaz and Irfan will likely lead the pace battery in the absence of Umar Gul.

Australia
It’s not all roses in terms of team selection for the Australians either. All of Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Ryan Harris and Michael Clarke will miss the one-day internationals, leaving a few spots to fill. Coach Darren Lehmann is also of the belief that an all-rounder who can bowl a healthy amount of overs will be key in the UAE, but with Mitchell Marsh also battling his way back to fitness, a player in the mould that Lehmann has outlined is lacking. With both Greg Blewett (fielding) and Muttiah Muralitharan (spin) drafted into Australia’s revolving past player coaching entourage, the experience on the fringes of the squad bodes well. The spinners had a field day in the T20 played over the weekend, on both ends of spectrum. Maxwell claimed 3/13, Boyce took two wickets and went for 2.50 to the over, Raza Hasan collected 2/17 and Shahid Afridi also went for less than 5.00 an over. The standout performer in the batting department was David Warner, with 53 not out in Australia’s easy pursuit of 96. The tourists will be heartened by the display, and confident that they can dispose of Pakistan cheaply and within fifty overs.

Venue
The pitch for the T20 in Dubai was rank turner, with much of the same expected in Sharjah. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka in both fixtures at the ground last year December, surpassing 300 twice. However, two centuries from missing Hafeez was the catalyst for the high totals. The weather forecast is kind, with no rain expected.

VERDICT: Australia 4/10
On the basis of their T20 victory coupled with the absence of Pakistan’s key performers, the Australians come in short. For good reason, as Pakistan’s batting was absolutely shambolic in their last outing with not much promise of repreive. Despite Australia still possessing a weakness against spin, the quality of their side should prevail. Back Australia to open up the series with a resounding win.

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