The 1999 World Cup final -- Pakistan vs Australia. A match where Shane Warne bamboozled the opposition, leaving an indelible mark in World Cup history. It was a match that heralded the beginning of a new era in which Australia would assert their supremacy in the cricketing world with two more World Cups (2003, 2007), and numerous Test wins.
Twenty years down the line and the teams are set to face off again in a World Cup match, albeit in the group league. And both of them will bring madness as well as a desire to push for the semifinal berths with more vigour and determination.
Pakistan were down and out after the seven-wicket defeat against West Indies in their opening match. The fans criticised them and the experts questioned the role of team management. And as it has happened so many times with Pakistan, the scenario changed within just three days.
They entered the field against England as the overwhelming underdogs, and they left the field as the victorious team. It was a win that stunned everyone and one that once again showed the unpredictability of Pakistan cricket. This is something that has become their hallmark over the years.
Sarfaraz Ahmed's return to form has provided a relief to the team management, and the experienced Mohammad Hafeez's excellence with the bat has given the batting line-up the much-needed boost. The onus will be on Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz to lead the bowling department if Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali provide able support, Pakistan can emerge as a force to reckon with. Though Hasan Ali is going through a cold streak, and the game against Australia can be his last chance of keeping his place in the starting eleven.
Australia had a rollicking start to their World Cup 2019 campaign, brushing aside Afghanistan and making a comeback against West Indies. Their apparently strong batting line-up looked vulnerable against the Indian bowling attack, with Warner's slow batting a big concern for the team management. Steve Smith has looked in fine touch and Aaron Finch will look to get some runs under his belt after a mediocre start till now with scores of 66, 6 and 36 in three matches. In the middle order, Usman Khawaja, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell need to take up the responsibility of scoring runs and ease the pressure from the top order.
Their bowling though is in fine form despite a forgettable outing against India. Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile have the capability to thwart any batting. The spin department looks a bit shaky with Adam Zampa going for 50 runs in six overs against India. The Australian team management can think of replacing Zampa with Nathan Lyon, who is formidable with the bat as well. But the team can take heart from the fact that they won 5-0 in their last ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE.
Match time: 3:00 PM (IST)
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Team news: Australia's Marcus Stoinis has been ruled of the match against Pakistan because of side strain and Mitch Marsh has been called in as a standby.
Pitch report: Though the conditions remained overcast, the pitch did not offer any swing in the initial period to the New Zealand fast bowlers against Afghanistan. It can become slow in the later part of the match. If team winning the toss decides to bowl first simply because of the overcast conditions and for early some swing, they are in for a disappointment.
Pakistan: Imam-Ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c & wk), Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali/Shaheen Afridi
Australia: Aaron Finch(c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey(wk), Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc
Betting odds: According to Oddschecker, Australia 2/5, Pakistan 9/4