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Australia lost their last match to India by 36 runs at the Oval on Sunday, when David Warner was uncharacteristically cautious in compiling his 56, Steve Smith scored 69, and the run-rate required eventually got way beyond the lower-order in the run chase

The 17th game of the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 will be played at The Cooper Associates County Ground, in Taunton between Australia and Pakistan on Wednesday (June 12).

It is the second game of the tournament at this ground and judging by how the first game panned out, bowlers might have the upper hand in this fixture. What will also aid the fast bowlers from both sides are the overcast conditions. It has been raining and the Taunton deck has been under covers for the most part of the last two days

This means there will be enough moisture on the pitch and that should delight the likes of Mohammad Amir, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. Both teams will be keen to have a bowl first, especially Pakistan who’s best bet will be to get rid of the Australian top order quickly.

There is a 50 per cent chance of rain when the game starts at 10.30am but the conditions are likely to brighten up towards the evening. A full day’s play looks unlikely and the two teams should be wary of this.

Australia will be keen on bouncing back after a tough defeat at the hands of India. Pakistan, who’s last game was washed out, will be keen on continuing their form that saw them defeat England by 14 run earlier.

Taunton: When Sarfaraz Ahmed says past results mean nothing to his Pakistan team, he genuinely means it.

Few would doubt him, either, particularly rival captains at the Cricket World Cup.

Australia lost their previous match against India by 36 runs. Reuters

Australia lost their previous match against India by 36 runs. Reuters

Five-time champions Australia swept Pakistan 5-0 in a one-day international series in March. That extended Australia’s winning streak to eight in ODIs after coming back from 2-0 down to win a series 3-2 in India.

Australia are again favoured to win the group-stage encounter against Pakistan at Somerset’s County Ground on Wednesday, but the odds don’t matter. Pakistan were bounced out for 105 in their tournament-opening loss to West Indies but rallied to beat top-ranked England, a pre-tournament title favourite, to end a run of 11 straight defeats.

Sarfaraz and his squad are sick of being dubbed the most unpredictable team in ODI cricket, but it’s the most reliable tag for them.

“It’s the past. We’re not thinking about that,” Sarfaraz told a news conference on Tuesday, reflecting on the 5-0 drubbing inflicted by Australia just over two months ago. “Our morale is very high. Momentum is very high. So hopefully we’ll do very good against them.”

Against England, Pakistan’s top order all got starts, with Imam-ul-Haq (44), Fakhar Zaman (36), Babar Azam (63), Mohammad Hafeez (84), and Sarfaraz (55) helping post a total of 348-8. The bowlers kept England to 334-9 in reply.

Australia have won 14 of the last 15 and two-thirds of the 100 completed ODIs overall between the two nations but have only a 5-4 edge in World Cups.

The wins include the 1999 final at Lord’s the last time the tournament was in England and the quarter-finals in 2015 en route to winning the title. Pakistan took the early honours in the ’99 tournament with a 10-run win at Leeds in the league phase.

The Australians lost to India by 36 runs at the Oval on Sunday, when David Warner was uncharacteristically cautious in compiling his 56, Steve Smith scored 69, and the run-rate required eventually got way beyond the lower-order in the run chase.

Skipper Aaron Finch predicted Warner is just finding his rhythm and his strike rate will improve.

Allrounder Marcus Stoinis strained his side bowling his second spell against India and will miss the Pakistan game and possibly the rest of the tournament. Mitch Marsh is coming as cover as a precaution, and Finch said he’s undecided about whether to add a batter or a bowler to the lineup against Pakistan.

“We heard about Stoinis … Mitch Marsh is on the way,” Sarfaraz said. “We’re not thinking about them. I’m thinking about my team, so we’ll make good planning against them.”

With wet weather around, the captain winning the toss will likely want to bowl first and take their chances on the Duckworth-Lewis revised run-rate targets. Pakistan’s third game, against Sri Lanka, was washed out without a ball being bowled last Friday in nearby Bristol and the teams had to share the points. The Sri Lanka-Bangladesh game in Bristol was also abandoned because of rain and the South Africa-West Indies match at Southampton on Monday was washed out after 7.3 overs.

Sarfaraz would like his team’s chances in a rain-shortened match and has confidence after its unexpected title in the Champions Trophy in England two years ago.

Finch said his team was approaching the match with confidence but noted Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali didn’t play in the March series, and Mohammad Amir played only the first game, so he was expecting to face an entirely different attack.

“We’ve seen consistently throughout, especially ICC tournaments, they get themselves in a position to win the tournament,” he said. “And they had a great Champions Trophy. So regardless of what kind of form Pakistan go in with, they’re always incredibly dangerous.

“There’s no player that you can disregard. They’ve got a lot of experience on their side, they’ve got a lot of match winners,” he added. “Every time you come up against Pakistan you have to play your best to beat them.”

Australia will be wary of the danger Pakistan pose as the latter must have taken a cue on where to hurt the defending champions the most. Australia, however, can put pressure on Pakistan if Mitchell Starc strikes early and remove a batsman or two. Mohammaz Hafeez and Shoaib Malik can use their experience and help Pakistan in middle overs with bat as well as ball.

Australia discovered a big-hitter in Alex Carey in their match against India and he could be of much use to Aaron Finch just in case there is early collapse. Steve Smith would remain the go-to batsman for Finch as the batsman has two half-centuries in as many games.

Australia’s batting prowess was most visible when they fought back from 79/5 to post a total of 288 thanks to Smith’s 73 and Nathan Coulter-Nile’s rear guard assault which saw him scoring 92 runs, so, Pakistan cannot just relax with early wickets.

If Pakistan remains consistent throughout the match, there are high chances they can ease past Aussies but a lot depends on how the pitch remains at Taunton.

pakistan vs austalia head-to-head

Total matches played- 09

Australia- 05

Pakistan- 04

Key players:

Australia key players: Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith

Pakistan key players: Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman

ICC World Cup 2019, Macth 17: Australia vs Pakistan Live streaming details

Date and Day: June 12, 2019, Wednesday.

Place: County Ground Taunton

Time: 3:00 pm IST, 10:30 am local time

The World Cup 2019 Australia vs Pakistan match live streaming will be available live on Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 1 in English Commentary and Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD in Hindi Commentary. The live streaming of the World Cup 2019 Australia vs Pakistan match will be available on Hotstar.

Team squad

Australia full squad: Aaron Finch (capt), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa .

PAKISTAN PLAYERS

Pakistan full squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & W), Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain

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