LAHORE – Pakistan will take on Australia in the first One-Day International (ODI) today (Tuesday) here at the Gaddafi Stadium with the home side looking to move up the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League (CWCSL) points table.
After Australia winning the historic Test series 1-0 on the last day of the final Test, the action now moves to the ODI series, where the two sides will vie against each other in three ODIs and a one-off T20I. The crucial CWCSL points will be up for grabs during the ODI series, with the homes side looking to climb the points table.
Pakistan cricket team is currently on No 10 in the standings with 60 points from nine games and if they manage to sweep the series, they can possibly earn a direct qualification for the next year’s World Cup in India. Pakistan team, playing at home and at full strength, will not have a better chance to scale up the table and will be looking at captain Babar Azam to lead the way against the visiting side.
The visitors are currently placed 7th in the CWCSL table with 60 points from nine games. They come into the series after a long lay-off from ODIs – they last played West Indies in July 2021. Australia will be without the services of several of their key players including Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and David Warner as all are unavailable due to a variety of reasons. In their absence, Australia will expect senior players such as Aaron Finch and Marcus Stoinis to step up in the crucial series.
Australian captain Aaron Finch has said that they are trying to make a combination for the next World Cup and the ODI series against Pakistan will be a great opportunity for guys. “At the moment, we are trying to make a combination for the next World Cup. We are experimenting to make a team and we will evaluate the players.
“It’s a great opportunity for guys to put their hands up and really build a case for their long-term spot in the squad. There’s going to be difficult times throughout the series, but really excited for these guys to get an opportunity,” Finch said during a virtual press conference on Monday.
He said Pakistan have world class players in the team being led by a batter like Babar Azam. “Pakistan have a world class bowler in shape of Shaheen Afridi, who can swing with a new ball, while Haris Rauf, whom he faced in the Big Bash League, can also bowl well. Hassan Ali is also a part of the team and there are also a number of young pacers, who are good and a challenge for us in the white-ball series,” he added.
Finch said Mitchell Marsh had suffered a hip flexor injury during a training session and was shifted to the hospital for scans. Cameron Green will replace him. He said pitches are very good for ODI and T20 matches in Pakistan and he will be playing here for the first time and he is very excited.
Pakistan opening batsman Fakhar Zaman said that he is in good form in white-ball format of cricket and runs are also being scored. “Pakistan team enjoys the advantage of home ground and called for collective efforts with sheer hard work for attaining desired results.”
The opener said his team would go all-out to win the ODI series against Australia, which is a relatively inexperienced side. “Good pitches have been prepared for the ODI series. I hope that we will win all the matches of the white-ball series,” he said during an online press conference.
PAKISTAN: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (capt), Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Haris, Faheem Ashraf, Asif Afridi, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf.
AUSTRALIA: Aaron Finch (capt), Ben McDermott, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshuis, Adam Zampa, Nathan Ellis.
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