Australia are yet to hit top gear. India were very, very good on Sunday, but the Aussie’s haven’t played with much of a flourish so far and should’ve lost to the West Indies in their previous game. If not for naive batting at the end of the second innings and some excellent Mitchell Starc bowling, things could look a lot worse for Australia.
Some of their batsmen have found form. Steve Smith looks in good nick. David Warner got fifty, albeit quite slowly. That raised a few questions from some as it put them behind the eightball in the match.
India bowled very well to him too. They’ll have known Warner as well as anybody, having played him so often over the last ten years in the IPL. They’d know his game inside-out.
When the end result saw them lose by such a small margin, you’d look back and wonder if they could’ve done something different – could they have been more pro-active?
Warner could’ve been, and I’d expect him to be a lot more aggressive against the West Indies on Wednesday.
Spin could turn game for underdogs
Pakistan are a very dangerous side. they’ll be very confident here. With Pakistan, you never know which side is going to turn up, but it’s a small ground, some of their players will be very familiar with it from county cricket.
A win for Pakistan would really put the cat among the pigeons in the group, and I wouldn’t be all that surprised if they were to beat Australia, though they are justified favourites.
It’s a very tough game to call. the Aussies are playing consistently, where Pakistan are the opposite, they are up-and-down, but that means they can have a fantastic hour with the ball or bat that’ll win them a game.
Fakhar Zaman is an aggressive left-handed batsman who doesn’t hold back. He’ll set his stall out to attack early. Babar Azam is a fine player too and is in good form, he a good bet. Wahab Riaz is bowling fast, he can be expensive but is picking up wickets.
Shadab Khan though is a very talented bowler. Even though Taunton is a small ground, sometimes the spinners can get some purchase on the wicket so he’ll be very important if Pakistan are to challenge the Australians.
Streaking Starc’s pace should tell
Australia will still be confident going up against Pakistan though. Their biggest problem could be the weather, as it’s shocking in Bristol right now and that’s not too far from Taunton. In England, you’d be doing very well to get through nine group games without having one washed out, but there’s not much they can do about that.
If they get on the field, Warner will want to come out packing a punch and should be more aggressive than in the previous game. Steve Smith will do what he does, manufacture runs at a decent rate. Usman Khawaja is under a bit of pressure to deliver with people questioning whether he can play at number four or if he should be opening the batting. He’ll be out to prove a point.
Mitchell Starc is bowling quick. He’s the second fastest bowler in the World Cup so far. He snatched the victory from the jaws of defeat for Australia against the Windies, and Pakistan generally don’t play fast bowling very well, so the Aussie quick could be the decisive factor.