Australia v Pakistan Fifth ODI

Thursday January 26, 2:20pm AEDT

Having secured the series in Sydney, Australia will be hoping to ram home their advantage with victory against Pakistan in the fifth and final ODI at the Adelaide Oval on Australia Day.


Australia

The Aussies finally flexed their muscles and produced the sort of dominant performance they have been threatening by brushing aside Pakistan to the tune of 86 runs, wrapping up the series in the process. After winning the toss and batting first, the Australians got off an ideal start with openers David Warner and Usman Khawaja combining for a stand of 92 before Khawaja was caught behind for 30 off 49 balls.

However that only served to bring together the hosts’ two premium batsmen in Warner and captain Steve Smith who put on a further 120 in 18 overs.

Smith eventually departed for 49, but Warner went on to amass a brilliant 130 off just 119 balls. However the carnage did not end there for Pakistan with Travis Head (51 off 36 balls) and Glenn Maxwell (78 off 44 balls) obliterating 118 off the last ten overs and helping the home side to a humongous 6/353.

Although the visitors raced to 2/116 off 16 overs in reply, the Australians always had the situation under control and some excellent bowling through the middle overs from leg-spinner Adam Zampa (3/55 off ten overs) ensured that Pakistan were eventually bowled out for 267. Although he was uncharacteristically expensive, leaking 54 from 8.5 overs, Josh Hazlewood picked up another three wickets as Australia cruised to yet another series victory.


Pakistan

The signs were bad for Pakistan when their left-arm duo of Mohammad Amir (1/75 off ten overs) and Junaid Khan (0/82 off ten overs) failed to make any inroads with the ball. That dented the impact of their spinners, with Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim and Shoaib Malik combining for figures of 0/136 off 20 overs.

The visitors’ loose bowling was exacerbated by poor fielding, with as many as four catches going down, however medium-pacer Hasan Ali continued to toil away and finished with a richly-deserved 5/52 off his ten overs. With the bat, Pakistan will be encouraged by another entertaining innings from opener Sharjeel Khan who targeted Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc effectively in his knock of 74 from 47 balls.

Dropped down to number four, Hafeez compiled a classy run-a-ball 40, while veteran Shoaib did his best to keep Pakistan’s forlorn chase going with a stoic 47 off 61 balls. The talented Umar Akmal continued his frustrating series, with a turgid 11 off 23 deliveries bringing his strike-rate in the series down to just 71.42.

Wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan has also struggled to fill the hole left by vice-captain Sarfraz Ahmed, averaging a respectable 22.50 in the series, but only going at a strike-rate of 60.00. Pakistan may consider a recall for Wahab Riaz in Adelaide with Junaid proving expensive in the last two outings.


Adelaide Oval

Although generally regarded as a batsman’s paradise, five of the past seven first innings scores in ODIs have been under 240, with only one above 275. The side batting first has won only four of the past ten ODIs at Adelaide, while Australia have won only three of their past seven ODIs at the ground.


Key Stats

  • Australia have now won 24 of their past 26 ODIs at home.
  • However Australia have won only three of their past seven ODIs at the Adelaide Oval.
  • Australia have won two of their past five dead-rubbers in ODIs.
  • Pakistan have now lost seven of their last nine ODIs away from home.
  • Pakistan have also lost six of their past seven ODIs at the Adelaide Oval.
  • Pakistan have won two of their past five dead-rubbers in ODIs.

The Verdict

Unsurprisingly Australia have retained heavy favouritism for this one, with Pakistan considered distant outsiders to snatch a consolation win.

At long last we saw what Australia were capable of with a comprehensive display at the SCG that simply blew their opponents off the park. Following some starts, Warner kicked on for his fifth ton in ten ODI innings’, while captain Smith showed his enduring consistency with his fifth score of 40+ in seven knocks. That allowed the powerful pair of Head and Maxwell to launch boundaries, rather than try and rebuild, which they have been often been called upon to do this series.

With such a formidable total behind them the Australian attack were unlikely to be troubled, and the addition of Zampa showcased the premium spin option that was sorely missing in the first three games. It’s hard to see the Aussies dropping this one, however given their inconclusive record in dead-rubbers, the possibility of key players being rested, and their relatively mediocre record in Adelaide I can’t quite be backing such a short price.

Pakistan likely have one eye on the flight home, however there have been some encouraging signs throughout the series, not least of which has been the brute force shown by Sharjeel at the top that has been desperately missing from their middle-order. In the right conditions their bowling attack has done a great job in curbing the Aussies’ long order, however this was not the case in Sydney where a flat pitch saw the hosts score at will.

With this in mind, the visitors will be desperate for a slower surface that aids their spinners, otherwise they will be highly reliant on Amir doing some damage with the new ball. With not much to play for, this does not seem the ideal time to be siding with Pakistan, however they have surprised us earlier in the series so I will be leaving their odds well alone.

In the absence of any interest in the match odds I’d suggest we focus on two of the more consistent middle-order players on either side.

The deeds of Steve Smith require little introducing , however his consistency is utterly phenomenal, passing 25 in three out of four innings of this series, while overall he has scored 25 or more in 13 of his past 19 innings in ODI cricket. Furthermore in nine innings against Pakistan he has only failed to reach 25 twice, while an average of 59.50 in ODIs at the Adelaide Oval suggests that he should have few problems with the conditions.

In a side not noted for their stability, Pakistani veteran Shoaib Malik has been a virtual rock in the middle-order, passing 25 in nine of his past 13 ODI innings, including all three knocks this series. Against Australia, Shoaib has reached 25 in eight of his past nine ODI innings, while foreign conditions haven’t managed to upset the all-rounder’s consistency with Shoaib getting to at least 25 in 15 of his last 18 innings away from home.

So with so many different variables in a dead-rubber I’m going to lean on two of the more reliable performers taking part and back both Smith and Shoaib to score 25 or more.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – Steve Smith To Score 25 at 1.50 or bigger for 1 unit

 BACK – Shoaib Malik to Score 25 at 1.70 or bigger for 1 unit


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