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AUS v PAK, 2nd ODI Preview: Pakistan seeks redemption in Melbourne

Australia v Pakistan
James Faulkner of Australia is congratulated by teammates after taking the wicket of Sharjeel Khan of Pakistan during game one of the One Day International series between Australia and Pakistan at The Gabba on January 13, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

After conceding the first ODI at the Gabba in Brisbane, the Pakistan team is on a sticky wicket as the tour continues into a second ODI to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. After losing two players to personal reasons they will be without skipper Azhar Ali in the next couple of games since a hamstring injury he sustained in the 1st ODI has ruled him out.

Mohammad Hafeez who has never led the Pakistan ODI side has been given the responsbility of the team for the second ODI and possibly the third as well. Pakistan’s record at the MCG has been a horror story for the faithful in recent times as it has been almost 20 years since their previous win at this venue. Moreover, Australia’s record here will further dent the confidence of the players as they take on the Aussies in what will be a do or die game for the Pakistanis.

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Prelude

The prelude sees Mohammad Hafeez taking solace in the fact that he has been bestowed with a young side on the day. This also sees him with ample time and opportunity to look at the long term and the grander scheme of things. However, despite all of this, there is an inherent issue that he is tasked with at the moment and that is to get a victory by any means possible at the MCG. Given the aforementioned statement, it would seem quite clear that redemption is on top of the 31-year old’s priority list

Pakistan’s massive strike bowling force

Given the whole redemption ordeal, they definitely has a blessed attack with the best of seam bowlers one could dream of. There is the swing bowler in Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali and Hasan Ali seem perfect for the mid overs with Wahab Riaz playing the role of the hitman. Imad Wasim also impressed quite a bit on the previous day while Mohammad Nawaz also showed that he has the skills to make the Aussies work hard for their runs. This bowling attack will surely cause a few issues for the likes of David Warner and Steve Smith, arguably the best batsmen in the Australian side at the moment.

Also read- Pakistan U-19 cricketer Majid Khan donates kidney to brother sacrificing career

Matthew Wade’s gambit

The previous game saw Matthew Wade impress one and all with a century. However, this ton also came at a time when Wade had to solidify his place in the XI, something he did with little or no prompting. Now, with his place in the side across all three formats well and truly cemented, it would seem quite clear that Peter Nevill will only be added as an auxiliary keeper to say the least.

Australia

Australia might be forced into a change with Billy Stanlake having a few minor issues with the ball. At 6 feet and 8 inches, it is only clear that the lad would be injury prone. Josh Hazelwood may be the ideal replacement for Stanlake while it remains to be seen if Chris Lynn keeps his place in the side ahead of Usman Khawaja.

Pakistan

Pakistan also would be looking to make a few changes following that disastrous batting display in Brisbane. Asad Shafiq will most likely come in for Azhar while Shoaib Malik could make a comeback in the place of Mohammad Nawaz. Hasan Ali was bowling a good line and took his wickets, but his massive economy on the day ensured that he will be replaced by Rahat Ali. The latter does not bowl at a terrifying pace but is more than enough to contain the opposition as Wahab and Amir hunt for the wickets.

It will be interesting to see how the team responds under Hafeez who had to really struggle to make it to the squad in first place and is asked to captain the team for the match.

Probable XI

Australia:

Steve Smith (C), Matthew Wade (WK), David Warner, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Starc, James Faulkner, Josh Hazelwood/Billy Stanlake, Adam Zampa

Pakistan:

Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez (C), Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik/Mohammad Nawz, Babar Azam, Mohammad Amir, Imad Wasim, Rahat Ali, Wahab Riaz/Hasan Ali

StAttack

  • Umar Akmal requires 70 runs to complete 2000 ODI runs. In addition, Babar Azam also requires 79 runs to complete 1000 ODI runs.
  • Umar Akmal requires 5 catches to complete 50 ODI catches.
  • It has been almost 20 years since Pakistan last won at this venue in an ODI, they have also lost in their last four matches all four against Australia.
  • On the other hand, Australia has won nine of the ten matches they have played at this venue. The last time they lost was in 2012 against Sri Lanka.
  • Steve Smith requires 120 runs to complete 2000 ODI runs. Glenn Maxwell requires 177 runs to complete 2000 ODI runs as well. James Faulkner requires 74 runs to complete 1000 ODI runs.
  • Matthew Wade requires 6 catches to complete 100 catches in ODIs.
  • Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins require 5 and 4 wickets respectively to complete 50 ODI wickets respectively.

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