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Match Preview – Pakistan vs Australia, Australia in Pakistan 2021/22, 1st ODI


Australia will be keen to experiment, with Green and Labuschagne coming in for Marsh and Smith; Pakistan will miss injured Shadab

Big picture

After a historic and much-hyped three-Test series, comprising 15 gruelling and emotionally charged days, the limited-overs leg of Australia’s tour of Pakistan can feel somewhat neglected by comparison. The anti-climax is heightened by a severely-weakened Australia, who are missing a slew of stars due to rest, injuries and personal reasons.

While Australia will undoubtedly experiment and start underdogs against a formidable looking Pakistan, there is a lot on the line for both teams with the three ODIs part of the current World Cup Super League cycle.

Australia and Pakistan will look to make up ground amid increasingly rare ODI scheduling in another T20 World Cup year. Australia have won their three series played during the cycle, but sit seventh due to playing just six matches, while Pakistan are 10th after a 3-0 defeat to England in the UK in July in their last ODI hit out.

Similarly, Australia last played an ODI against West Indies in July, and they have only played four ODIs overall since December 2020.

As their 50-over droughts end, Australia and Pakistan will be keen to put their best foot forward with an eye towards a World Cup in India only 18 months away.

Form guide

Pakistan LLLWL (Last five completed matches; most recent first)
Australia WLWLW

In the spotlight

After a tough home summer, Aaron Finch has a chance to ease his pressure with a big series in Pakistan. Having memorably become the first Australian captain to lift the T20 World Cup trophy, a laboured Finch struggled through the season with a persistent knee injury during a lacklustre BBL and subsequent T20I series against Sri Lanka. The 35-year-old is keen to continue through to next year’s World Cup but his dip in form has raised eyebrows. Finch has not played an ODI since December 2020, but expressed confidence during his press conference on Monday of being able to slip back into the 50-over format comfortably enough. He will be relied upon to shore up Australia’s inexperienced batting order, and if he fires then that should quell simmering pressure over his position.
Shaheen Shah Afridi lit up the Test series although didn’t quite get the reward for his toil on mostly stale pitches and against Australia’s experienced batting order. Without his new best buddy David Warner, along with Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell also missing, Australia’s top order appears a little shaky and ripe for Shaheen to crack open if he can get the white ball hooping around. He will be eager for a bounce back in ODIs having been expensive during the three-match series in South Africa and in the last ODI in England last year.

Team news

Australia will experiment with the squad, including uncapped ODI players Ben Dwarshuis, Nathan Ellis, Josh Inglis and Mitchell Swepson.

Australia (possible): 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Ben McDermott, 3 Marnus Labuschagne, 4 Travis Head, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Cameron Green, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Sean Abbott, 9 Ben Dwarshuis, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Nathan Ellis

Pakistan are likely to be without legspinner Shadab Khan for the opening two ODIs after he sustained a groin injury during the PSL. They have a strong squad, including a contingent who played in the Tests, but excluded former captain Sarfraz Ahmed and allrounder Imad Wasim. They included uncapped spinner Asif Afridi and wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Haris after strong performances in the PSL, while an ODI debut for Abdullah Shafique, who starred in the Tests at the top of the order, could be forthcoming.

Pakistan (possible): 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam (capt), 4 Abdullah Shafique 5 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 6 Mohammad Haris, 7 Faheem Ashraf,  8 Asif Afridi, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 11 Haris Rauf

Pitch and conditions

On the back of the Test match, the pitch is expected to be dry and favouring batting although reverse swing could be a factor amid dewy conditions under lights. Very hot conditions are forecast in Lahore with a maximum temperature of 38 degrees.

Stats and trivia

  • Australia have a commanding record against Pakistan in ODIs with 68 wins from 101 completed matches.
  • Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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