Australia will look to continue their fine recent form when they take on Pakistan in this potentially decisive second ODI of the series. Pakistan, meanwhile, be desperate to bounce back as they face up to the possibility of back-to-back series defeats on home turf. Who will come out on top? Read on for our full Pakistan vs Australia second ODI preview and prediction:
Pakistan vs Australia 2nd ODI Preview and Prediction
Series So Far
Australia had their tails up after winning the Test series 1-0 and it showed in the early stages of the ODI. Despite being thin on the ground, and having been asked to bat first by Pakistan, they got off to a flying start. That was mostly the work of Travis Head. The South Australian had a quiet Test series with the bat and hasn’t played much ODI cricket of late. But he has an excellent record in the 50-over game for the Redbacks and showed exactly what Australia had been missing.
He reached his century in just 70 balls and although he holed out shortly thereafter, the tone was set. The Australians weren’t able to maintain their explosive start, but they did reach 300 comfortably enough and then set about knocking Pakistan over. They were helped by an overly conservative approach from their hosts, with captain Babar Azam particularly culpable, as Pakistan found themselves with too much to do in the closing stages and ended up bowled out for 225.
After a very disappointing display, Pakistan may look to reassess their squad. Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq – who made a century of his own though it went in vain – will continue at the top of the order, whilst Azam’s position at number three is just about set in stone. But Saud Shakeel failed to impress on debut and could be replaced by Abdullah Shafique. Alternatively, Pakistan may look to move Mohammad Rizwan up the order to number four.
That may allow for a more aggressive middle-order of Asif Ali and Haider Ali with Khushdil Shah keeping his place at number seven. He bowled well, but had little opportunity to make a mark with the bat as the game slipped away. Hasan Ali’s place in the team may also be under threat after another underwhelming display, particularly if Shaheen Shah Afridi is fit. Mohammad Wasim enjoyed a solid debut and Haris Rauf was the pick of the bowlers, whilst Zahid Khan’s wrist-spin is indispensable.
Australia will almost certainly stick with the same team that played in the first game. Not just because they won, but also because they have hardly any players to choose from beyond that XI. Captain Aaron Finch does need a score after a very long lean patch, but decisions about his future will not be made mid-series. Head, meanwhile, delivered a reminder of his quality, whilst Ben McDermott played well, though he will doubtless be frustrated by the manner of his dismissal.
Marnus Labuschagne holed out trying to accelerate the scoring, but can anchor in an innings where needed. Marcus Stoinis looked scratchy and is perhaps ill-suited to batting at five. Australia may look to promote Alex Carey and Cameron Green above Stoinis, using the Western Australia as a finisher instead. Sean Abbott contributed with bat and ball, whilst Nathan Ellis also bowled effectively at the death. Crucially, Adam Zampa and Mitchell Swepson tied Pakistan down in the middle overs.
Australia looked the weaker side man-for-man against Pakistan in the first ODI and that is still true heading into the second. But it is sometime since the Australians were actually beaten in an ODI series (their last defeat came in March 2020 against South Africa). Pakistan, meanwhile, seem to have lost their way in this format. Unless Pakistan can find a way to up the ante, both in the first power play and against spin in the middle overs, Australia may very well be on course for another win.
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