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Preview: Bowlers to provide the edge in final ODI

Published Sep 02, 2012 09:17am


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With a relatively vulnerable batting line, the onus will once again be on the bowlers to give their respective teams an edge. -Photo by AFP

 Match: 3rdODI Pakistan vs Australia (3 match Series is tied at 1-1)

Venue: Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Date & Time: Monday, 3rd September 2012, 19:00 PST / 14:00 GMT

Overall Rivalry: Dominance; Australia 53 wins Pakistan 31 wins

Momentum in the last five encounters: Edge; Australia-3 Pakistan-2

Weather Report: Desert heat. Low of 30 Celsius but high humidity is a major cause of dehydration and cramps. Partial cloud covers but no chances of rain.

The 22-yard Report: The spinners will continue to get support while the Australian fast bowlers have already found success twice at the same venue in the previous week. The wicket should have a bit for everyone. Michael Clarke admitted to have made a mistake in Abu Dhabi for batting first but the captain winning the toss on Monday might follow suit.

Game On: The three match series is levelled at one apiece and set up perfectly to give an enthralling final contest. Now it will be the test of nerves. In recent times, Pakistan has found itself in good positions on multiple occasions only to throw it away. On the contrary, Australia has thrived under pressure, regularly snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Confidence and self-belief can do wonders in crunch situations and big games; come Monday it is exactly what everything might well boil down to.

There is a stark difference in the bowling attacks of the two teams; while the Aussies bank on pace, Pakistan almost completely relies on spin. On paper though both teams are evenly matched in strength and there is nothing to choose from. With a relatively vulnerable batting line the onus will once again be on the bowlers to give their respective teams an edge.

THe 38-year-old Misbah-ul-Haq is not getting any younger thus the question of him ending his career is not a matter of 'why' but 'when'. Will he call it a day himself like Andrew Strauss did last week or will he be forced to hang his boots like most of his predecessors? These are questions that Misbah can best find answers for from within himself or his bat. If he fails to deliver, once again Pakistan may find itself searching for a new captain, sooner than later.

New coach Dav Whatmore might already have some influence on key matters while he will look to kick start his stint with the Pakistani team with a rare series win against the country he once represented as a player.

Carrying a self-destruct button, far too often Pakistan has been its own biggest enemy. Their body language can be an immediate indicator of what is going to follow next. The same team can look completely out of sorts on one day and turn up with all guns blazing the next – the first two matches of the series are cases in point. It is the sort of unpredictability that gives Pakistan the X-factor but it is also what it is infamous for.

While the Aussies are more methodical and rational with their cricket, one knows what to expect from them in a decider like this. Be sure for them to fight hard, hold their catches and save every possible run in the field. However, the impetus of the contest will largely depend on which Pakistani team shows up; the one full of hungry tigers or that which so often falls like ninepins.

Game Changer: On Friday, Nasir Jamshed was given out leg before in the third over of the innings when he was batting on 4. The UDRS came into play and the replay showed the ball pitching outside leg, case closed. He went on to score a brisk match winning 97 on a day that could have ended a lot earlier for him. What would have happened as a consequence of Pakistan losing an early wicket chasing a target of 249 will never be known, courtesy of the available technology.

Pre-Game Talk: “Whenever I’ve heard of being a trump card for the team, I aim to perform even better. The expectation puts a bit of pressure but this motivates me to do better. I know batsmen fear facing me and it makes me happy,” Saeed Ajmal realises his role and impact before a big game.

"I've got three starts now and haven't been able to go on, so it's an area I need to continue to work on, and our top order needs to do so,” Michael Clarke identifies the importance of converting starts into big runs.

Last XI Fielded Australians: 1 Matthew Wade (wk), 2 David Warner, 3 Michael Clarke (capt), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 David Hussey, 6 George Bailey, 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Daniel Christian, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 James Pattinson

Last XI Fielded Pakistanis: 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Nasir Jamshed, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Asad Shafiq, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Kamran Akmal (wk), 8 Abdul Rehman, 9 Sohail Tanvir, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan

Possible Changes: Australia might go in with at least one forced change as Mitchell Starc pulled a side/chest strain at the game in Abu Dhabi. Alister McDermott is expected to fill in that spot and try to fit into the big shoes of his father, the former Australian fast bowler Craig McDermott. The openers have posed a bit of a problem at the top but with the Australian reluctance to chop and change too often, they might get another hit. If fitness permits Shahid Khan Afridi will be expected to slide back into his spot replacing Abdul Rehman as a specialist spinner. Lack of form could also see Sohail Tanvir lose his place to rookie Anwar Ali, giving all four Pakistani fast bowlers a go on tour.

Trivia Quiz: How many ODI captains has Pakistan had after the retirement of Imran Khan in 1992? (Answer will be published in the 1st Pakistan vs Australia T-20 match preview)

Answer to previous quiz: Moin Khan and Wasim Akram are the two Pakistani cricketers to have scored more ODI runs than Misbah-ul-Haq without scoring a century.

Final Words: Pakistan goes into this game wanting to change the tide against the former world number one team, marking the end of an era. On the other hand, the Aussies will look to stamp their authority to signal the world that their decline is temporary and they still hold the mantle of the team to beat. Both teams have more than the Cool & Cool cup to play for; the basic human desires of pride and glory.

The writer grew up in a home with sports as its religion and “The Cricketer” subscription of black and white pages as holy script. He resides in Istanbul and can be reached here.


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Comments (19) Closed

Commando Shah Sep 02, 2012 06:18pm
Hi I am a pathan man and i can confirm that this article has been one of the worst I have ever read - infact it is just regurgitating what other websites like are actually writing. This is an extremely cheap attempt to copy to cricinfo and countless other websites, there is nothing unique in this article and English is extremely poor.
Usman Sep 03, 2012 11:22am
I found this preview more enjoyable to read than the one on cricinfo. Though I do not agree with Australia going with Jr McDermott in the final but instead they should play the spinner they have brought with them. Thank you Dawn, please keep putting up these previews. Pakistan Paaindabaad !!
abid Sep 02, 2012 10:42am
If Pakistanis hold on all the catch chances, they are likely to beat Autralia.
Hameed Ali Sep 02, 2012 10:49am
I am a good fan of Shahid Afridi but I do not think Mishbah should retire and Afridi should take the charge. Well Misbah is still in good form and is the main stay in the Pakistani batting line up. He is still performing and should be a mentor and guide for new batsman in the middle order. Pakistan need one experienced batsman like him in the middle order considering both Younus and Malik are out of form. Under his captaincy, Pakistan's performance is quite better than what it used to be before when Afride was captain.
umairhr Sep 02, 2012 07:16pm
I wish Pakistan best of luck but telling u pakistan's batting will collapse giving an easy win to Aussies
ZS004 Sep 03, 2012 07:23am
this shaan guy is definitely the best
Nick farahshah Sep 02, 2012 05:53pm
Mr. Leave misbah alone. It is an old saying that don't mess with success
Nauman Rauf Sep 03, 2012 12:54am
Why not replace Tanvir with Afridi and Malik with Junaid. All out spin attack!!!
LARAIB Sep 02, 2012 01:31pm
Inshaa ALLAH Pakistan Will Win The Series........
Why do you care Sep 03, 2012 10:35am
Excellent article with careful selection of words!!!
r.s.soni Sep 02, 2012 01:46pm
congrats to pak team, well played. keep it up
Salman Sep 02, 2012 11:09pm
56% is pretty accurate :) Can you also tell me what are the chances of the 3rd ball of the 4th over to be a no ball ?
Shahid mahmood Sep 02, 2012 11:08pm
Misbah should retire from ODIs too and keep on playing test cricket for a couple of years before hanging his boots. Last couple of years have proved that it is the new comers who are performing in most matches. Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Umar Almal and Junaid Khan are the best performers today. So why not find a couple of young players to replace Misbah and the bowling spot. I'll say give a prolonged chance to Usman Salahuddin and Zia-ul-Haq. They should at least be given ten continuous matches each to prove their worth. Talha should also be selected as the third option with Junaid and Zia. We should also keep an eye on Baber Azam and Hari Sohail to see their progress in the first class arena. What I see as the biggest two problems are, lack of a new allrounder in domestic setup and that our young players lack in building big innings just as Kohli does for India. They tend to loose concentration in 30s and 40s and this is one field which needs to be worked on. A lot of fans are advocating for Hammad Azam but his performances in first class matches and SLPL do not support his claim and Razzaq still seems to be far ahead both in batting and bowling as compared to Hammad.
Adeen Sep 03, 2012 04:35am
Best of Luck Team Pakistan
ShaanLover Sep 02, 2012 12:42pm
East or West, Shaan Agha is the best!!!
Nasser Ali Khan Sep 02, 2012 06:46pm
We hope Nasir Jamshed is what we have been waiting for decades for a test standard opener. Howver, a single innings does not prove anything. He has yet to demonstrate that he has the skills and the mental strength to prove his mettle by giving consistently high-level performances. We all wish him good luck.
parveez Sep 02, 2012 11:02pm
Keep the same team, with one change sohail out, afridi in. The austrial team can not play spin, and our fast bowlers have not done well. With four spiners Austrial can not win.
Atta Khan Sep 02, 2012 10:08am
Yes Misbah should go after this series, if he does not win ODI. Also Nasir Jamshed should be given all the opportunities with Junaid Khan, and Shahid Afridi. I think Sohail Tanveer has to improve his line and lenght and get some coaching. PAK TEAM SHOULD NOT DROP A SINGLE CATCH, SHOULD FIELD well and CHASE RUNS. THEY HAVE A CHANCE 56% against AUSSIES inshallah
Salman Sep 02, 2012 11:57am
My guess is 15 captains in 20 Years after Imran Khan, probably more than any other team in the same period. Anwar Ali in Sohail out, Shahid in Rehman out. Pakistan will have to be sharp because Australia will not give an inch in a crucial encounter. Pakistan Zindabad :)