Thu, Oct 9, 1:13pm by Mike Randall
Where: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
When: Friday, October 10, 10pm AEST
A NEW season and new one day international era kicked off for Australia’s cricketers on Tuesday night, the men in canary yellow plundering Pakistan.
And they’ll look to do it again on Friday night in the second game of the three match series in the United Arab Emirates.
The Aussies are heavy favourites to make it 2-0, with Betfred.com.au’s offering of $1.38 the best you’ll get with our recommended bookmakers.
Centrebet.com has the Pakistani’s at $3.40 and that’s for good reason, after they were skittled for 162, 93 runs short of Australia’s 8/255 in game one.
A maiden one day ton from unorthodox, but effective, all rounder Steve Smith, and a bag of three wickets to left arm speed demon Mitchell Johnson set up the win in Sharjah.
While the rest of the Aussie batsmen struggled mightily to go on with it in the searing heat – none passed 43 – Smith was as cool as a cucumber on his way to a composed ton that really saved the Aussies’ bacon.
With the ball, the Aussies were all over Pakistan, aside from Johnson’s three wickets, both spinners bagged two and debutante Sean Abbott provided the highlight with his first one day international scalp, that of big hitting veteran Shahid Afridi, caught on the midwicket boundary by James Faulkner. Not a bad notch on the belt as your first one.
Fun fact – Afridi is on Abbott’s hit list twice, as he also claimed the Pakistani’s scalp in his Twenty 20 debut on Sunday.
If you can see Pakistan getting anything out of this series, you have better foresight than us.
The Aussies are decidedly better in almost all facets of cricket.
No Saeed Ajmal, No Mohammad Hafeez, no Junaid Khan and an out of form skipper – it doesn’t get much tougher for the Pakistanis.
At least they’re on home soil… Nope – they still have to play away from home, the remnants of the 2009 terror attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team still fresh in the International Cricket Council’s collective mind.
All signs point to the Australians sweeping this series and we reckon the $1.38 at BetFred on a rampant side is about as good a value as you’ll find on the head to head markets.
We’ll talk more about Finchy later, but he’s $1.85 with Sportsbet.com.au to score over 22.5 runs and we reckon that’s good value after his failure in game one.
The Aussies are $1.66 to have the highest opening partnership with BetEasy.com.au and, despite Finch going first ball, the Pakistanis didn’t look like getting a wicket until they broke Smith and Warner’s 86 run stand.
Tasmanian off-spinner Xavier Doherty has been called into the one day squad as cover for all-rounder Mitch Marsh after his hamstring injury.
“The team’s medical staff have now confirmed that Mitchell Marsh will not take part in any of the ODI Series following his hamstring injury,” national selector Rod Marsh said.“As selectors, we have decided to replace him with Xavier for this component of the tour.
“The pitch on Sunday night during the Twenty 20 international turned significantly and there is a strong chance we will encounter these conditions during the rest of this series.
“As such, we have elected to bring Xavier over to Dubai as an extra spinning option.”
Nathan Lyon is the obvious number one and the Aussies like to use Glenn Maxwell’s tweakers as his back up.
Lyon (2-33) and Maxwell (2-29) both found success in Sharjah and, as Marsh said, the decks have turned sideways so far and, if it looks similar at Dubai, the Aussies might go unorthodox and play the second spinner.
Pakistan used to be brilliant players of slow bowling. Not so much any more it seems.
Poor old Misbah ul Haq.
The Pakistani captain fell victim to a brilliant catch from David Warner at leg slip and now he’s copping stick for being too thin.
The 40 year old dropped 10 kg at a boot camp in June, but has hardly been able to hold the blade since.
“I don’t think it’s happening because of the weight,” ul Haq said.
“I have been getting runs in the domestic matches, and in the practice game.
“I can’t say ‘Oh, I have lost weight, that’s why I am not getting runs’.
“This is not the case.
“I have more strength and endurance now.”
Maybe age is catching up with him?
Either way, Pakistan need him to fire if they are going to be any hope.
Aaron Finch ($4.50 at Sportsbet.com.au)
Out first ball of the match in game one, you can bet Australia’s new Twenty 20 captain will come out breathing fire, wanting to atone for his mistake. Finch drove the first ball of the game straight to backward point to gift Irfan and Pakistan the perfect start to the match. Don’t expect the swashbuckling opener to do that again. We even reckon he could ton up and Sportsbet.com.au has the market on a century to be scored in the first innings at $4 – you’ll have to wait until the toss to see if the Aussies bat first, though.
Steve Smith ($4.95 at BetEasy.com.au)
What a jet. Steve Smith’s technique looks a little ungainly, but there’s no doubt he strikes the ball as well as anyone and he’s fast becoming Australia’s ‘Mr Fix It’, after launching another successful rescue mission in game one. Smith’s 118 ball innings included two sweetly-struck sixes and six fours, finally settling in to his new roll at first drop. Following the form is good enough for us.
Misbah ul Haq ($4.85 at BetEasy.com.au)
Did we say to follow the form? Well that goes out the window here. As we mentioned, Misbah has been severely out of whack since dropping all that weight earlier this year. But we reckon he was stiff in game one. He copped a cracker from Lyon, first up, but the insane catch from Warner just topped it off. Similar to Finch, you’d like to think ul Haq will be hunting for some retribution.
Umar Akmal ($6.20 at BetEasy.com.au)
Here’s another batsman that’s been under fire, after a less than satisfactory performance in the weekend’s Twenty 20. But Umar Akmal showed some ticker against the Australian spin attack in his battling 46 in game one. He was castled by Kane Richardson, after trying something a little too extravagant but, again, we’ll go with the form (and hope he’s learnt from his mistake).
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