Cricket World Cup: Pakistan look to match Australia for aggression

Pakistan Cricket

Pakistan will play World Cup co-hosts and favourites Australia in the third quarter-final from 0330 GMT in Adelaide.

Their captain Misbah-ul-Haq is aware, in what could be his final ODI match before retiring, of Australia's naturally aggressive brand of cricket and spoke of his side's determination to match them shot for shot and wicket for wicket.

"I think Australia always just play aggressive cricket and, if you want to really be up there against them, you also need to play good, aggressive cricket," Misbah said at the pre-match press conference. "If two teams are playing aggressive cricket, you still have a chance."

Australia's captain Michael Clarke, meanwhile, appeared to want to take on Pakistan's strength, their pace attack, head on and seemed keen for the groundsman to leave plenty of grass on the Adelaide Oval wicket.

He said: "Two good attacks on a wicket that looks like it's got a bit of grass on it. It's going to be tough for the batters but, Australia in general, if you do get in as a batsman it's a wonderful place to bat. It's just starting your innings is always difficult."

Australia have arguably had a cleaner run to the quarter-finals with only a narrow defeat to New Zealand blighting their progress. Pakistan began badly with heavy defeats to India and West Indies but have won their last four games - including a somewhat unexpected triumph against South Africa.

Strengths and weaknesses:

Australia will start as favourites as their batting has looked far more assured - the match against the Kiwis aside - than Pakistan's thus far. However, Pakistan are always dangerous when on a role and have surprised many with the quality of their pace attack. When one considers the men it is missing for various reasons - Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif and now Mohammad Irfan – it’s a remarkable achievement. Wahab Riaz has repeatedly been among the fastest bowlers on show and will look to spearhead a left-arm-heavy attack.

Australia also have three left-armers, with Mitchell Starc the standout so far. Mitchell Johnson has been overshadowed by Starc to date but has spoken of feeling like he's "starting to click now". If he does, it could well be difficult for Pakistan's batting which too often relies on skipper Misbah. The match result will probably hinge on which team deals best with the other's pace battery.


The chance of rain is almost non-existent with only patchy cloud expected. If the sun breaks through it could reach the high twenties degrees Celsius, but a high of around 21 is forecast. The pitch, according to Clarke, will offer plenty of assistance for the seam bowlers and will probably encourage the side winning the toss to bowl first.

Team news:

Australia are almost certain to be unchanged from the eleven that took on Scotland, with Pat Cummins again preferred to Josh Hazlewood and Shane Watson seeing off the challenge from Mitchell Marsh.

Probable XI: Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steven Smith, Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin (wicket-keeper), James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins.

Pakistan are also likely to stick with an unchanged eleven and will probably again resist the urge to field leg-spinner Yasir Shah. Mohammad Irfan's absence through injury is a big blow.

Probable XI: Ahmed Shehzad, Sarfraz Ahmd (wicket-keeper), Haris Sohail, Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Ehsan Adil, Rahat Ali.

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