The Australians must win to have any chance of finishing in the top four places
| Published: October 19, 2023 11:17:00 PM
Shafique and Afridi joined the team on Wednesday for training at Bengaluru’s Chinnaswamy Stadium and are available for selection, but questions remain over the form of the 1992 champions ahead of their fourth match of the tournament.
Pakistan won their first two matches in mixed style but suffered a seven-wicket defeat at Ahmedabad’s huge Narendra Modi Stadium last week, where they were subjected to hostile behavior from the partisan crowd.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has filed a complaint with the International Cricket Council for “inappropriate conduct” towards its players during the match.
Azam was booed during the toss while a video on social media appeared to show several Pakistani players, including Mohammad Rizwan, being abused by Indian fans.
The team is now back in South India, where they will play their remaining seven matches and hope to garner similar support to their two wins in Hyderabad.
The Hyderabad crowd cheered as Shafique and Rizwan scored centuries during Pakistan’s record-breaking 345-4 run against Sri Lanka.
“Winning or losing is part of the game,” said Rizwan, who scored 248 in three innings.
“We lost to India, but if you see, we also won two matches. We have to match our skills with our sense of the game…we cannot say that we are behind the world.”
Australia, on the other hand, faces an even more precarious situation after defeats to India and South Africa. The win against Sri Lanka was just a small step towards the knockout stage, but their batting line-up remains a concern.
Apart from Josh Inglis, no Australian batsman has scored a fifty in the tournament. Marnus Labuschagne is the only one to have totaled more than 100 races. Mitchell Starc has more runs than key hitters like Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Marsh.
Australia’s bowlers, including Starc, Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood, attempted to maintain control, but captain Pat Cummins failed to consistently replicate his red-ball cricket performance in the white-ball format.
To solve these problems, they have to deal with batting-friendly conditions at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
Pakistan and Australia have met 10 times and although Pakistan has won four matches, the defeats inflicted by Australia have been significant and far-reaching.
Australia began their resurgence in the tournament by bundled out Pakistan for 132 in the 1999 Cricket World Cup final at Lord’s Cricket Ground. They chased down the target in 29.5 overs for the loss of two wickets.
They also beat Pakistan in the 2015 tournament en route to winning the title on home soil and in 2019 again, their sixth Cricket World Cup victory against the team in green.
Australia recovered from opening defeats against India and South Africa to secure their first points with victory over Sri Lanka, moving to the bottom of the rankings.
Australia’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup semi-finals could well depend on the outcome of this match against Pakistan.
Defeats to India and South Africa in their opening two matches mean Pat Cummins’ side can probably only afford to lose a maximum of two more matches and quite possibly just one more in the rest of their group stage matches if they want to hold on. chance of finishing in the top four places. And a defeat by Pakistan, who already have two wins to their name, would be a particularly significant blow to the five-time winners’ hopes of adding a sixth title to their country’s tally at the Men’s Cricket World Cup.
Pakistan’s disappointing defeat against India last time was a setback after a good start.
Pakistan, after defeating Netherlands and Sri Lanka, then suffered a seven-wicket humiliation at the hands of their arch-rivals India.