AUSTRALIA v PAKISTAN ODI - Game Four
SCG, Sunday 22nd January
Australia turned the tables on Pakistan at Perth to regain control over the ODI series and will now look to win the series outright. The fourth ODI would be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday, January 22.
Hosts back to form?
It’s been that kind of summer so far for Australia where even comprehensive wins aren’t evoking confidence. The batting finally looks sorted out with the induction of Peter Handscomb. With Steve Smith leading the run-scoring at Perth, it’s only David Warner whose lack of runs is a worry.
Sydney will present a different challenge though and the hosts would be wary of turn that could be on offer. In the second ODI at Melbourne, we have already seen the Kangaroos struggle on a slow pitch. This makes Warner’s runs at the top all the more precious. Bowling looked sharp all through the series and Travis Head’s part-timers are already a revelation.
What to expect from Pakistan?
That’s a million-dollar question! After a disappointing tour with continuous defeats across formats, the visitors broke the barriers in Melbourne. But the uncertainties that you normally associate with Pakistan came to the fore in Perth with them fumbling after what was a good start.
Bowling looks settled with the successful return of Junaid Khan who’s impressed with his nippy pace and control. Their loss at Perth was accentuated by losing critical moments of the game – missed catches, wickets off no-balls to name a few. And if they harbor any hopes of staying alive in the series, Pakistan would do well to plug those leaks.
Adam Zampa must be wondering what he should do to get a game. He was one of the top wicket-takers in ODI cricket last year but is still warming the bench in the series. Sydney could just be the match to unleash him unless the Kangaroos decide otherwise.
Stand-in captain Mohammad Hafeez excelled with his captaincy and together with the talented Babar Azam was the difference for Pakistan. If Azhar Ali returns in place of Asad Shafiq, Pakistan will have the right team at Sydney.
Australia have been the better team in the series and considering their form coming into this game, they start as huge favorites. Odds of 1.25 on an Aussie win don’t come with value. But considering the turning pitch that would be on offer and the legendary troubles of the Kangaroos on sluggish pitches, Pakistan are dark horses to win this match. Backing them to be winners at odds of 4.35 isn’t a bad punt.
For someone of his talent and form, Warner has been surprisingly quiet this series. With Smith back amongst runs in the previous match, the Aussie vice-captain will be looking to settle scores at Sydney. Back him at odds of 3.75 to be the best batsman for Australia.
Azam struggled in Tests but the change into colored clothing has seen him get his form back. He was unlucky to miss out on a century at Perth and once again be the core of Pakistan batting. Back him at odds of 5.50 to be Pakistan’s best batsman.