BRISBANE – Pakistan and Australia are all set to lock horns in the first ODI of five-match series on Friday at the Gabba Cricket Ground, Brisbane.
It would be an important game for Pakistan as the win will set the tone for the remaining matches. Moreover, a win in the series that too against a Worl No. 1 side will certainly help to improve Pakistan’s ODI ranking.
Pakistan are eighth in the list, they need either to remain on eighth or to improve further in order to qualify for the for the 2019 World Cup.
The eight highest-ranked sides as at September 30 this year will earn automatic qualification, while the remainder will be forced to take part in the World Cup Qualifier in Bangladesh in 2018.
Every ODI win in the next nine months is therefore, critical for Pakistan.
Swashbuckling middle order batsman Umar Akmal, who scored a 39-ball 57 runs in the practice match, is more likely to make a comeback in the squad after the World Cup 2015. In the absence of Sarfraz, Rizwan may keep the wickets.
While Pakistan bowling lineup will be more or less similar, adding both Imad Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz to the side.
Hafeez was ignored for the practice match, is not likely to make a return.
Pakistan (possible) 1 Azhar Ali (capt), 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Babar Azam, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Mohammad Amir/Junaid Khan, 10 Wahab Riaz, 11 Hasan Ali.
On the other hand, Steven Smith confirmed Australia’s XI on the eve of the match, with Head named to open alongside Warner, and Lynn and Stanlake set to debut. Legspinner Adam Zampa and batsman Usman Khawaja miss out.
Australia 1 David Warner, 2 Travis Head, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 Chris Lynn, 5 Mitchell Marsh, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Billy Stanlake.
Live Streaming Information
For Australia viewers, channel 9 will live stream the ODI series.
The match will begin at Start time 1320 local (0320 GMT) and 0820 according to PST.