Defending champions Australia lock horns with an unpredictable Pakistan in Match 17 of the ICC World Cup 2019 at The Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton on Wednesday.
Australia kick-started their campaign with a clinical seven-wicket win over Afghanistan and followed it up with a 15-run drubbing against West Indies, but their winning momentum was halted against a strong India outfit that saw Shikhar Dhawan slam a century in 95 balls that reiterated his form in ICC tournaments. It was also the first time Australia have lost a World Cup game while chasing since 1999.
Pakistan, meanwhile, have a topsy-turvy campaign so far. They were humbled against West Indies by seven wickets but bounced back to pull off an upset against hosts England, winning that match at Trent Bridge, Nottingham by 14 runs.
Their next match against Sri Lanka at Bristol was abandoned without a ball bowled.
Australia’s bowling attack – armed with the likes of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins – looked clueless against India, who batted them out of the game in the first half at The Oval on June 9. The batsmen tried to keep them in the hunt for the most part of the game. However, they can take some heart from that fact that they swept their opponents 5-0 two months ago in the UAE.
Australia could recall paceman Jason Behrendorff on Wednesday in a bid to halt another opposition batting onslaught as they prepare to face giant-killers Pakistan at a venue that’s been a bowlers' graveyard in recent years.
The Aussies are on an eight-match winning streak against Pakistan in ODIs but the World Cup head-to-head is much more even, with Pakistan having won four and lost five of their previous meetings, the latter including the 1999 Cricket World Cup Final at Lord’s.
Last week’s New Zealand-Afghanistan match was the ground’s first ODI since the 1999 World Cup in the United Kingdom.
With rain expected later on during the match, can Australia return back to winning ways or will Pakistan further endorse their unpredictable tag, or will this turn out to be a damp squib?