Australia are packed full of enough punch to render them worthy 1/4 favourites for progression to the semi-finals of their own World Cup, but Pakistan are on a roll and cannot be taken lightly.
Never turn your back on a Tiger, especially a cornered one. That sounds like sage advice.
In this case the big cat in question refers to the Pakistan ODI team who will be trying to invoke the spirit of the famous ‘cornered tigers’ who came from nowhere in 1992 to claim glory in the only other World Cup staged jointly on Australian and New Zealand soil.
The major difference between then and now is 3/1 shots Pakistan have not remained anonymous in the group stages, arriving off four straight wins; which includes the scalp of confirmed semi-finalists South Africa two games prior.
The very nature of Pakistan’s unpredictability always renders the Green Shirts lively underdogs, while a record of 4-4 against Australia in World Cup cricket, with three wins in the last five, is yet more reason for the speculative punter to be pleased.
Make no bones, it will take a superhuman effort from Misbah-ul-Haq’s side – the only batsman on either team to feature in the top ten runscorers at the tournament – to dump out such a well-drilled and aggressive Australian unit, but fighting fire with fire is their best chance.
Any one of Australia’s top order, not least the flamboyant stroke-making and raw power of Glenn Maxwell, could take the game away from Pakistan, though on a pitch highly-receptive to fast bowling this quarter-final may be won with ball rather than bat.
This was certainly the tale from Australia’s only loss of the World Cup so far against New Zealand in Pool A.
Australia will look to the brilliance of Mitchell Stark on 16 wickets for the competition, but countering the Aussie maetro, lightning quick Wahab Riaz has clocked the nippiest ball of the World Cup and sits on 14 wickets for Pakistan.
The experience of Pakistan playing two previous Pool B games at the Adelaide Oval could be vital, while Michael Clarke’s men make their 2015 World Cup bow at the only ground in Australia where their win-loss record is negative in ODI’s since 2011 (2-4) .
Ladbrokes customers should be aware that both skippers will be price-boosted to top score for their side in the match, albeit only from 9-9:30 pm on Thursday evening.
Misbah will be enhanced from 11/4 to 9/2, while Clarke who averages 58.18 in ODIs against Pakistan will see his odds briefly mushroom from 4/1 to 6s.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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