If the whole series had gone the way the fourth ODI went, Pakistan would not have minded, even if the result was 4-0, it’s Australia right now. For the first time in the series, Pakistan’s purpose of playing its benchmark eventually bore fruit. Abid Ali scored 112 points in the debut; No one has done more for Pakistan in his first game.
The reserve ticket holder Mohammad Rizwan scored his second hundred in three games, which is only due to his punch strength for a ticket to England. Yes, something impossible, Pakistan ended seven wins, but for the first time in the series coach Mickey Arthur can claim with some credibility that a bigger picture is to be considered.
Abid Ali’s nervous hundreds see him trigger the pecking order and guarantee more than just the last game in the series. A whitewash, however, is not a great preparation for anything.
As the Pakistani ODI record against the teams to which they are particularly exposed during the World Cup has been particularly unpleasant in the past 15 months, they are desperately looking for a victory at the end of this series.
The chase, though ultimately botched, will make Pakistan confident of competing with Australia. However, they continue to look for consistency in the top-level order, with services in the fourth ODI being the exception rather than the rule.
Australia can not go wrong now. The unlikely victory in Dubai was the seventh consecutive win, and if we are not too concerned with the players that Pakistan played in the bank, you should consider how far this Australian team can be further strengthened.
Pat Cummins only played one in four ODIs, with Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Steven Smith and David Warner, all of whom were likely to join the World Cup team. Without all this glamor, they pushed Pakistan aside in the first three games before demonstrating their steel to win a tough fourth-round win.
This is the highest level Australia ODI Cricket has played since winning the 2015 World Cup, and they could not have chosen the timing of their purple spot better.
Missing Pakistani Bowlers:
It is an indisputable fact that Pakistan will exclude from the World Cup squad a number of bowlers who would appreciate other teams. Two of those most likely to compete for a place are Usman Shinwari and Junaid Khan. Shinwari was Pakistan’s best bowler in the third ODI before breaking out in the fourth round – something of the story of his thriving career.
Junaid had more thought in the fourth game than in the third game, but the pair has to show more evidence of consistent quality to secure a place in the hotly contested section of the squad.
World Championships define careers, especially in Pakistan Cricket, and should the pair be on the field in the final, both Link Arm Pacers will have the particular motivation to push their case forward. In the short term, this should increase Pakistan’s chances of getting away without any whitewash.
The numbers are striking for most Australians in this series, but one that they are likely to change for a short time is Nathan Lyon. The offspinner has made a wicket in each of the four games while playing for five and more, with the exception of the second ODI. Those watching him will be surprised that he was not more successful.
The ball has turned more for him than for his long-legged opponent Adam Zampa, and Lyon has probably looked on some occasions without the results showing up. The gates he considered his team were all important batsmen at crucial moments, but it takes time to impress the selectors enough for a World Cup spot.