Cricket World Cup 2019: Upbeat Pakistan look to overturn recent domination by Australia

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Pakistan will be taking confidence from their win over England.

Defending champions Australia and Pakistan will have one eye on the weather as they prepare to lock horns in a 2019 ICC World Cup clash at Taunton on Wednesday.

Two games in the ongoing tournament including Pakistan’s most recent clash against Sri Lanka have already been wiped out due to poor weather and the threat for the same exists at Taunton on Wednesday.

There is a 60 per cent chance of rain on matchday according to the weather forecast with the prospect of a stop-start affair a real possibility.

AUSSIES AIM TO BOUNCE BACK FROM INDIA LOSS

Australia came into the World Cup on the back of an eight-game winning run in ODIs and they started the same tournament in similar vein with victories against Afghanistan and West Indies.

However, their 10-match winning streak was brought to a halt recently by India with the Aussies falling to a 36-run defeat while attempting to chase a mammoth 353. Very rarely do they lose in the World Cup with four of the last five editions of the tournament going their way.

A loss against fellow contenders India will not rankle Aaron Finch’s men too much but they will be desperate to ensure that it remains a one-off and does not lead to further defeats.

PAKISTAN AIM TO KEEP MOMENTUM GOING FROM ENGLAND WIN

Pakistan were being written off by many already after their disastrous start to the World Cup but things have changed quickly in that regard. After a seven-wicket thrashing to Windies where they were bowled out for just 105, the Men in Green bounced back in style by stunning tournament favourites England.

That win over the hosts will have given Pakistan plenty of confidence and they would have ideally liked to keep that winning momentum going against Sri Lanka. However, rain saw that game abandoned without a ball being bowled and denied Pakistan a chance to shine against a team they had beaten in all previous World Cup meetings.

Sarfraz Ahmed and his men will now be hoping that the washed-out clash does not derail their momentum, for they will need to repeat their exploits against England if they are to give the Aussies a run for their money.

ALL EYES ON PAKISTAN’S MIDDLE-ORDER COMBINATION

While their pace bowling woes seem to have subsided for now with Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz coming good, Pakistan still have problems aplenty when it comes to their middle-order.

They went with Haris Sohail and all-rounder Imad Wasim for their campaign opener against Windies before replacing them with Asif Ali and veteran Shoaib Malik for the England clash. Malik has been out of form in recent months and has an abysmal record in England but his experience could be a handy asset against Australia.

Asif Ali failed to fire in the win over England but the right-hander has the ability to provide the finishing flourish in the death overs for Pakistan. As such, it could be hard for Sohail and Imad Wasim to work their way back into the playing XI for now.

Malik will likely retain his place in the playing XI.

Malik will likely retain his place in the playing XI.

AUSTRALIA HAVE UPPER HAND OVER PAKISTAN IN RECENT TIMES

Pakistan’s most recent showings against the Aussies is not too encouraging with the Men in Green tasting 14 defeats in the last 15 ODI meetings between the two sides. The most recent fixture between the two was a five-match ODI series in the UAE held in March where Australia emphatically beat Pakistan 5-0.

The only saving grace for Pakistan in that series rout was the face that they had rested several senior players including skipper Sarfraz and star batsman Babar Azam.

LIKELY XIs

Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc.

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c and wk), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir.

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