After a remarkable triumph over Australia at the MCG this Sunday, Pakistan have returned to their most successful venue (WACA) in Australia to unsettle the home side once again as they look to go ahead in the VB ODI series.
Pakistan’s shock victory in Melbourne leveled the series at 1-all and ended their record 12-year win drought in Australia across all formats – their last victory came in January 2005.
With Australia bruised due to injuries to several players and fatigue seemingly seeping through to their ranks, visitors are confident that they can overcome the conditions and to take the lead in the series with a victory on Thursday.
And also, Pakistan should look at their record of four wins in six ODI matches at the WACA as proof that they can combat the Australian threat on the fastest and bounciest strip they are likely to face in this campaign.
A victory is also important to Pakistan’s hopes of World Cup 2019 qualification with only the top eight teams guaranteed an automatic berth to the event; they are currently reeling at number eight position in the ICC One-Day International (ODI) rankings.
Spinner Imad Wasim – who contributed with the figures of 2-37 in Pakistan’s victory at the MCG – says tourists are better than what their rankings suggest.
“(Arthur) has told us about the wicket and the ground conditions and which areas to bowl and not to bowl,” spinner Imad Wasim said today. So it’s been really good that Mickey knows this wicket and he’s told us a lot of things about it.
“I personally believed before coming to this tour that we could beat any team in the world in shorter formats, because our team combination is very good. Number eight in the world … that’s the ranking, but our side is better than that. If you don’t believe you can beat any opposition, there’s no point coming here.
“We are here to beat them. We are here to play good cricket. We are here to fight.”
Imad also added the absence of two Australian Mitches was ‘a good thing’ for Pakistan, but pace bowler Josh Hazlewood insisted it was a chance for the inexperienced pair to shine their credentials and make a name for themselves at the highest level.
“It’s good opportunity for a couple of young guys to put their hand up,” Hazlewood said.
“Pete Handscomb has come in and he’s had a great summer so far. He’s flying with confidence and Billy has got a lot to offer with his height and pace so I’m looking forward to him having a bowl again. And obviously Marcus Stoinis has come in (to the squad) as well. There’s a couple of guys who are in good form and it provides a good opportunity for them.”
“These are very good batting wickets,” he said. “It’s hard work. You have to bowl in good areas. I think we bowled really well, to be very honest.”
In the both opening matches, Pakistan were able to run through the defenses of Australian top order and will need to put up a similar show at the WACA if they are to take a series lead for the first time in Australia.
Pakistan’s record at the WACA: Four wins from Six ODI matches
Featured Photo Credit: Den Bedford/Flickr