The gripping ODI series between Pakistan vs Australia has come down to this third and final match. Both sides will believe that they have what it to takes to get across the line, but only one will get their hands on the trophy. Who will come out on top? Read on for our full Pakistan vs Australia 3rd ODI preview and prediction:
Pakistan vs Australia 3rd ODI Preview and Prediction
Series So Far
Australia have batted well in both games so far, without perhaps quite batting their opponents out of the game. They weren’t made to pay for that in the first match, despite failing to really capitalise on Travis Head’s superb century at the top of the order. But they bowled well-enough, helped by some overly conservative batting from Pakistan in the middle overs, to get away with that failure, ultimately recording a comfortable 88 run win.
But despite scoring a mammoth 348 batting first in the second ODI – spearheaded by a first international century from Ben McDermott and 50s from Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne – Pakistan chased the total down reasonably comfortably. Imam-ul-Haq scored his second consecutive century and Babar Azam also made it into three figures. Australia struck late to remove Imam, Babar and Mohammad Rizwan too, but it was too little too late.
It would be a surprise to Pakistan make any changes to their batting line-up after an excellent display last-time out. That will see Fakhar Zaman open the batting with Imam. Captain Babar will come in at three and wicket-keeper Rizwan will bat at four. Rizwan has not quite got going with the bat so far in this series, but has proven his quality over the course of his career. Khushdil Shah, expensive with the ball but effective with the bat at the death, will be the next man in.
Fellow part-time spinner Iftikhar Ahmed also went the journey, being taken for 38 runs in four overs, will bat at six, with Saud Shakeel will be the last recognised batter. Shaheen Shah Afridi will once again the lead attack alongside Haris Rauf, unless Shadab Khan is passed fit to play. They were the pick of the bowlers in the second match. Mohammad Wasim has probably not done enough to secure a long-term spot, but should play again here, and the same can be said of Zahid Mahmood.
Aaron Finch failed again, out for a golden duck to Afridi, but Head maintained his fine form at the top of the order with a quickfire 89 off 70 balls. McDermott enjoyed his best moment in Australian colours with an excellent century, though he will doubtless be disappointed not to have kicked on thereafter. Marnus Labuschagne looked in better touch than he did in the first game, holing out in similar circumstances but this time having scored 59 runs in 49 deliveries.
Marcus Stoinis also scored 49, but got out at exactly the wrong moment for Australia. Whilst the lower-order hitters Alex Carey and Cameron Green barely got started with both men out for single digit scores trying to accelerate. Sean Abbott got Australia up towards 350 with 28 runs from 16 balls, but struggled with the ball. So too did Mitchell Swepson and Nathan Ellis – though the Tasmanian did take the big wicket of Babar – but Adam Zampa had another fine game.
This match could go either way, with the toss likely to play a big role. Batting second is likely to be an advantage. But Shaheen’s return to the Pakistan might just be the difference. Australia haven’t missed some of their star batters, but the absence of all three of Hazlewood, Starc and Cummins has been a real blow. Abbott, Ellis and Green have run-in hard, but they haven’t looked particularly threatening or economical.
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