Cricket Tips & Preview – Pakistan V Australia (3rd ODI)

WILL EVANS charges down the wicket with cricket tips for the third and final clash in the ODI series between Pakistan and Australia.

21:00 (AEDT), Sat 2nd Apr @ Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore

History: Played 106: Australia 69 V Pakistan 32 (1 Tie, 3 No Results)

Last meeting: March 31, 2022: Pakistan d Australia by 6 wickets (6 balls to spare) at Gaddafi Stadium

Final Thoughts: Pakistan and Australia are gearing up for a massive ODI series decider on Saturday after an impressive win apiece in the opening two games.

Five centuries have been scored so far, with Pakistan bouncing back from a convincing first-up defeat courtesy of an outstanding run-chase in the second clash.

Aussies power to convincing series-opening win

A new-look Australian line-up thundered to an 88-run victory in game one, despite the unplanned absence of Mitch Marsh (hip) and Ashton Agar (COVID) coming on top of Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood and David Warner being rested, Glenn Maxwell’s unavailability and Steve Smith’s elbow injury.

Promoted to an opening role, Travis Head blasted 101 off 72 balls to set up Australia’s innings of 7/313. Ben McDermott (55 off 70) played a steady hand at first drop, while Cameron Green (40* off 30) made some important runs in the last 10 overs after Pakistan had fought back. Haris Rauf and Zahib Mahmood took two wickets each but every Pakistan bowler went for at least five runs an over.

Opener Imam-ul-Haq’s century (103 off 96) kept Pakistan in the frame and Babar Azam (57 off 72) contributed strongly. But no other batsman managed more than 19 as the hosts crumbled to 225 all out in the 46th over. Adam Zampa (4/38) mopped up the tail, Nathan Ellis (1/36) capped a solid debut performance with Imam-ul-Haq’s wicket, and Mitchell Swepson and man-of-the-match Head picked up two wickets apiece.

Pakistan level up in run-feast

Australia’s top order fired again in game two, despite Aaron Finch’s first-ball duck. Head (89 off 70) and McDermott (104 off 108) shared in a 162-run stand. Marnus Labuschagne (59 off 49), Marcus Stoinis (49 off 33) and Sean Abott (28 off 16) picked up the run-rate in the latter stages as the tourists amassed 8/348.

The returning Shaheen Shah Afridi took 4/63, while Mohammad Wasim (2/56) was Pakistan’s most economical bowler.

But the home side’s run-chase always looked in hand. Imam-ul-Haq (106 off 97) racked up a second straight ton and enjoyed century partnerships with Fakhar Zaman (67 off 64) and the brilliant Babar Azam (114 off 83). Despite losing Azam and Mohammad Rizwan in quick succession with five overs left, Khushdil Shah (27* off 17) and Iftikhar Ahmed (11* off 7) sealed a six-wicket win with an over to spare.

Wicket-takers Zampa (2/71), Ellis (1/69) and Stoinis (1/23) were expensive. Green (0/35) was the only Australian bowler to go for less than six an over.

The victory snapped Australia’s 10-match ODI winning streak in the rivalry and was just Pakistan’s second win in 18 one-dayers against the perennial heavyweights.

Pakistan have been backed into $1.53 to snare a momentous series win in the wake of their powerful game two batting performance. Certainly, the form of Imam-ul-Haq and Azam is hard to ignore, while Finch’s woeful form is a huge concern. If Australia is to cause the upset, Head looms as the hero they need.

Tip: Top Australia Batter – Travis Head @ $4.00