New Delhi [India]: Defending champions Australia would aim to bounce back after losing their third match, while Pakistan would target to build on their last win when the teams clash in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup match on June 12 at County Ground in Taunton.
Australia lifted its first Cup after defeating England by seven runs in the 1987 edition. The team then ended as runners-up against Sri Lanka in 1996. This defeat by seven wickets charged the Australians and they went onto win three consecutive titles in 1999, 2003 and 2007.
This Down Under team returned in 2015 and clinched their fifth trophy. Now, in the 12th edition of the 50-over event, the most successful team in the history of the tournament will be aiming to clinch their sixth trophy. Australia won its first two World Cup matches after defeating Afghanistan and Pakistan. The team couldn’t complete its third consecutive win as India defeated them.
Pakistan, on the other hand, won its only World Cup in 1992 under the leadership of Imran Khan. This year under the captaincy of Sarfaraz Ahmed, the team recorded their 11-match losing streak, including their white-wash series against Australia and England ahead of the World Cup.
The team faced a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of West Indies in their first World Cup match. However, Pakistan bounced back and beat not only the hosts England by 14 runs but also ended their 11-match losing streak. Their third match against Sri Lanka was abandoned without a ball bowled due to rain.
Credit for Australia’s comeback must go to their skipper Finch who rallied his troops to their recent victories in the one-day cricket. Finch amassed 451 runs in five matches and guided his side throughout to white-wash Pakistan in recently concluded bilateral series. He scored 66 runs in his team’s first match against Afghanistan. The West Indies kept Finch silent in Australia’s second match but he score run-a-ball 36 against India in his third match.
The right-hander is in good form lately. The number three batsman has time and again proved to be a vital cog in Pakistan team. Babar scored a century in the first warm-up match against Afghanistan. He hit a well-compiled 63 off 66 balls against England in second World Cup match after failing in the first match against West Indies. Currently ranked at seven in ICC ODI batsmen list, the player holds the key to help Pakistan post a respectable score on the board.
The right-hander played an unbeaten knock of 56 runs in the World Cup 2015 final to guide Australia to its fifth title. Although Smith served a one-year ban in 2018 after his involvement in the ball tampering scandal, during a 2019 warm-up match against England, he smashed 116 runs off 102 deliveries. Smith held one end along with David Warner on the other to help his side secure an early win the quadrennial tournament against Afghanistan. He then hit 73 and 69 against West Indies and India, respectively, in his second and third match.
The big-hitter provides the team with a rollicking start. No one can ever forget the left-hander’s innings for Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final against India in 2017. Fakhar has been inconsistent throughout his career, but if the player comes good, Pakistan are guaranteed of registering a good score. He along with Imam-ul-Haq gave the side a brilliant 82-run opening start against England in the second World Cup match.
The left-arm pacer finished the 2015 edition as the tournament’s joint-highest wicket-taker along with New Zealand’s Trent Boult. He with his last performance impressed cricket enthusiasts and critics alike. Starc returned with figures of 5-46 against West Indies as he played a major role in turning the tables in favour of Australia in second World Cup match. Starc bagged the pricey wicket of Shikhar Dhawan for 117 during the third match against India.