The fifth and final One-day International of the five-match series between Pakistan and Australia is being played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday (March 31).
Australia have already won the series with four consecutive wins and now they are looking to make a clean sweep, their first 5-0 ODI series win since 2013 when they hosted West Indies.
On the other hand, Pakistan will desperately make an attempt to avoid a whitewash after they came closest to win the previous match, played at the same venue on Friday. Chasing a difficult total of 278, they fell just seven runs short of the target after scoring 271 for eight with two individual hundreds.
The victory in the final match will not only be a consolation win for Pakistan but it may boost the morale of their players who will have to play a five-match ODI series along with a solitary Twenty-20 International against England in England in May before the commencement of the 12th ICC World Cup.
Pakistan are playing the series against Australia without the services of their six key players, now seven after Faheem Ashraf has also been added, as they all are being rested for the World Cup.
Another purpose of resting these players was to give confidence to other players and also to test the potential of new players. It may be said that the coach and selectors achieved some success but not up to full extent.
This policy provided ODI debut to four young players – openers Shan Masood and Abid Ali, left-handed top-order batsman Saad Ali, and 18-year-old fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain. Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan also got an opportunity to play the series in the absence of captain Sarfraz Ahmed.
Only two of them achieved success to the full extent as Rizwan struck two centuries in four matches while Abid Ali, given the chance late in the fourth match only due to a sudden illness of opener Imam-ul-Haq, scored a brilliant hundred.
Hasnain also bowled well in all his three matches but claimed only two wickets while Saad Ali, who was given the chance only in the fourth match, was sent late in batting order and could score just seven runs.
Date: Sunday March 31, 2019
Timing: 04:00 PM PKT
Weather: A cloudy day is predicted in Dubai but rain is unlikely to play any part.
Conditions / Pitch Report: Dubai hosts the final leg of the series, with its surface expected to be straw-coloured and slow. The Dubai pitch appeared to have something in it for the slow bowlers as well as the batsmen. The pitch could quicken up during the second innings due to increased humidity levels. Dew could also play a role.
Head to Head:
Matches: 102 | Australia: 66 | Pakistan: 32 | NR: 4
Australia: W W W W W (completed matches, most recent first)
Pakistan: L L L L L
Australia is likely to field the same playing XI. Khawaja and Finch will go up front with Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb and Alex Carey coming in the middle order.
The duo of Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa did extremely well in choking the flow of runs on Dubai track.
Meanwhile, Pat Cummins is set to miss another game as the management rewarded him with some rest for his spectacular performance throughout the season. Kane Richardson will replace him.
Australia’s Probable XI:
1. Aaron Finch (capt), 2. Usman Khawaja,, 3. Peter Handscomb, 4. Marcus Stoinis, 5. Shaun Marsh, 6. Ashton Turner, 7. Alex Carey (wk), 8. Nathan Lyon, 9. Kane Richardson, 10. Adam Zampa, 11. NM Coulter-Nil
Pakistan rested Imam Ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik for the match on Friday with Shan Masood and Abid Ali opening the inning for Pakistan. Imam Ul-Haq could comeback for the Pakistan vs Australia 5th ODI at the expense of Masood who was pretty disappointing this series.
With just 6 games to go before the World Cup, Pakistan would want to get their act together and make sure they end on a high note.
Pakistan’s Probable XI:
1. Imam-ul-Haq, 2. Abid Ali, 3. Haris Sohail, 4. Umar Akmal, 5. Saad Ali, 6. Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 7. Imad Wasim (capt) 8. Mohammad Hasnain, 9. Yasir Shah, 10. Junaid Khan 11. Usman Shinwari,
Stats and Travia:
- Since the start of 2018, Pakistan’s record against teams that play the 2019 World Cup reads four wins, 16 losses. One of those wins came in the final over against Afghanistan at the Asia Cup last year.
Players to watch:
1. Abid Ali – Batsman, Pakistan
A good young batsman, Abid Ali has played some really good cricket in this series to be a serious contender for the World Cup. Ali is in good touch with a century on Friday and will definitely feature in the fifth ODI.
2. Mohammad Rizwan – Batsman, Pakistan
Pakistan needs Mohammad Rizwan to be at the very top of his game. And if he manages that, Pakistan are definitely on their way to a victory. Undoubtedly the best batsman for Pakistan in this series. Rizwan has been brilliant with two centuries in three matches and has virtually booked his spot in the World Cup squad. A wicketkeeper who can even bat really well,
3. Aaron Finch – Batsman, Australia
Australia’s captain Aaron Finch is a man on a mission. Arguably the most in-form player in this Australian team, Aaron Finch comes to the form after a very bad season.
4. Glenn Maxwell – Batsman, Australia
The all-rounder has struck form at the right time as teams now focus on the World Cup. Although he was unlucky to not get a hundred, Maxwell played one of his best innings as he ensured Australia had a fighting total to defend. The all-rounder can even ball a little bit and is an expert in taking that occasional wicket.