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ICC World Cup: Australia to take on Pakistan in Bengaluru

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Today, Australia will take on Pakistan in Bengaluru. The match will start at 2 PM.

Only five days ago, Pakistan were one of the in-form teams of the tournament, They’d started their campaign on a confident note against the Dutch. They’d then created a record with the highest run-chase ever in a World Cup against Sri Lanka.

Australia on the other hand looked completely out of shape. They’d been trounced by India convincingly before suffering their heaviest defeat in a World Cup game to South Africa. So much so that they even spent one night at the bottom of the table.

As the two teams prepare to face each other at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Friday (October 20) though, you’d say the tide has certainly shifted. Even if it hasn’t technically. From their first three matches, Pakistan still have two wins and a loss while Australia still have two losses and a solitary win. But it’s difficult to deny that Pat Cummins & Co just seem to have the edge on the eve of the crucial encounter between the two sides.

That’s what a loss to India can do to the narrative around Pakistan in a World Cup. That’s what any win for Australia does to the narrative around the five-time world champions in a World Cup.

And if Australia spent their time against Sri Lanka ticking some crucial boxes en route to opening their account in the World Cup, Pakistan were left rattled and seemingly made to lose all that momentum that they’d built up in their opening encounters. Not that Cummins is ready to bite into any chat around Australia potentially heading in a direction where they might “peak” at the right time.

“We’ve probably given up the right to peak at the right time by losing the first couple but you’re always chasing that perfect game. For most of the last game we were really good. But there’s always a couple of little areas, again, they had a big partnership upfront. Took us five wickets down to knock over the total so it was a really good game, but there’s always little things you can look at,” he’d said.

This is not to say that Pakistan have turned into a team in distress just on the basis of one defeat. But it’s the nature of their collapse and the inability of their bowlers to impart any pressure on the Indians would be the biggest concern from their perspective. Either way, the match could well decide in which direction their respective journeys in this World Cup head from this point on. Pakistan at least would hope that the narratives around the two teams are just narratives and that they still haven’t lost their way after the really promising start.

Squads:

Pakistan Squad: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan(w), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Agha Salman, Fakhar Zaman, Usama Mir, Mohammad Wasim Jr

Australia Squad: Mitchell Marsh, David Warner, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis(w), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins(c), Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Sean Abbott, Travis Head, Alex Carey, Cameron Green

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