Cricket World Cup LIVE: Australia v Pakistan in Bengaluru

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  • Pakistan win toss and bat, Australia name unchanged side
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Pakistan win toss and bat, Australia name unchanged side

Pakistan have won the toss and have chosen to field. With a good start on this pitch, the sky’s the limit for Australia. But Pakistan’s new-ball attack is strong. This will on early.
Australia have named an unchanged team. In the warm-ups, there appeared to be some concern about leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who has been troubled by an assortment of injuries and most recently by back spasm. The team’s masseuse has put plenty of work into him. But he’s in the XI.Australia: David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (capt), Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.Pakistan (not confirmed): Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Nawaz/Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Usama Mir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf

Pat Cummins will captain an unchanged sideCredit: AP

On the ground in Bengaluru, it’s perfect cricket weather

It’s a brilliant day in Bengaluru, a mild 30 degrees, dry and made for cricket.

There are long queues outside the ground, which is encouraging because crowds at non-India games in this tournament have been sparse. To judge from conversations with hotel staff and in shops, the Australians are popular here. The names of Shane Watson and Glenn Maxwell recur, also Adam Gilchrist.

Queen’s Road outside M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru ahead of tonight’s match.Credit: Greg Baum

Pakistan will have no travelling support, but they won’t lack sympathisers entirely. Asked about the lack of fans, bowler Hasan Ali began flashed a big smile and began to count the newly admitted journalists one-by-one. Evidently, he is something of a humorist. Asked how Pakistan would restrict Australia’s (notionally) powerful batting, he replied: “if it’s a batting friendly track, we won’t play.”

Well, it will be batting friendly. Moreover, there are short square boundaries and even shorter straight boundaries. Two 300-plus scores would not surprise.

History says tonight is a time for the batsmen to shine

While Australia have struggled with the bat in sometimes tricky conditions during this World Cup, Bengaluru offers hope of a much more free-scoring game against Pakistan, with an average one-day score of more than 300 there.

It is Glenn Maxwell’s home ground with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL and Steve Smith made 131 the last time Australia played a one-day match in Bengaluru.

Maxwell’s most productive one-day cricket has been against Pakistan. He has always made double figures and averages almost 53 against them. This compares to an overall average of 33.

Glenn Maxwell averages 53 in one-day matches against Pakistan.Credit: Getty

It’s Australia’s must win game against Pakistan

It is an early call in a tournament where each team plays nine lead-up matches before the finals, but tonight’s clash has a huge bearing on Australia’s chances of winning a sixth 50 over World Cup title.

After overcoming two losses to easily beat Sri Lanka, victory tonight and Australia will be right back in the hunt for a semi-final spot, drawing equal with third-placed South Africa and fourth-placed Pakistan at two wins each.

They then have the only non-Test team, the Netherlands, in their next match, although the men in Orange caused a major upset against South Africa. Lose against Pakistan and Australia must win their last five remaining preliminary matches to have any realistic chance of making the play-offs.

Australia’s batsmen will be looking forward to more batter friendly conditions in Bengaluru, where the average score in one-day matches is more than 300.

Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis celebrate Australia’s first victory in this World Cup, against Sri Lanka last Monday.Credit: Getty

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