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Friday, August 14, 2009

Pakistan vs Australia 4th ODI 2009: Preview, Live Score

(This entry was originally published on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009)

Pakistan is going to face Australia in the fourth of the five-match ODI series at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. This is a must-win match for Pakistan who holds the home series status in the ongoing tour to UAE. Australia is currently leading by 2-1, having won 2 back-to-back matches after the humiliating defeat in the first match. Pakistani cricket fans were expecting their players to dominate over the world champions in the series prior to the kick off of the series. Pakistan team started off the series pretty well too, but after losing the second and third ODIs of the series, Pakistan is now left with no other options except winning the remaining two matches to win the series.

Match: Pakistan vs Australia, 4th ODI 2009

Date: 1 May 2009

Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Time: 15:00 Local time (11:00 GMT)

Live TV: Ten Sports

Naturally, Pakistan is now under pressure because they know another defeat would leave them in a position from where they would not be able to save the ODI series. Pakistan cricket did not have a very good time both on and off the field over the last one year. Earlier this year, Pakistan had lost to Sri Lanka in a 3-match ODI series at home, before the Lahore terror attack on Sri Lankan team bus put an uncertainty over the future of Pakistan cricket. Winning the series over world champion Australia would be the best possible way to keep some hopes alive regarding Pakistan cricket and it would be huge boost up for the Pakistan team ahead of ICC World Twenty20 2009 and ICC Champions Trophy 2009.

For Australia, the situation is a bit different. Their problem lies only on the field. They lost the number 1 spot of ICC ODI ranking to South Africa this year after losing the ODI series at home, and then the Aussies were beaten by South Africa in the recently concluded ODI series on South African soil. Naturally, Australian cricketers were not at the right shape of mind at the beginning of the series, and their confidence level got a huge blow when their batsmen failed to show any resistance against Pakistani spinners in the first ODI. However, Tim Nielsen boys bounced back with full swing winning the second match with sheer dominance. The victory in the third match which was very close must have helped the Australians to retain a big part of their confidence.

Spinners have been the deciding factors in the series so far with Shahid Afridi and Nathan Hauritz are dominating over the opposition batsmen. Afridi achieved his career best bowling when he took 6 wickets for 38 in the first ODI, and the all rounder kept his excellent bowling form continuing in the last two matches too. Michael Clarke’s match winning bowling in the third ODI must have strengthened Australia’s spin attack, while Pakistani spinners dominated over the Australian batsmen throughout the series so far.

The main problem of Pakistan cricket team is the prevailing rustiness in their batting. Three matches have been held so far in this series, but Pakistani batsmen could not yet get back in the right track. Specially, the middle order batsmen are struggling in the series and this was clear when Pakistan got all out for 171 runs, falling just 28 runs short of a small winning target in the third ODI, despite having 95 runs in the opening stand between Salman Butt and Ahmed Shehzad. Players like Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal will have to take bigger responsibility in the remaining two matches, if Pakistan wants to win the series. Their pace attack is pretty much balanced, and given the condition and the wicket of Abu Dhabi, I think, their spin-quartet including Afridi, Ajmal and Shoaib Malik will lead Pakistan’s bowling attack.

For Australia, they just need to show enough resistance against Pakistan’s spin attack. In the absence of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey, Australia’s batting line up has definitely lost some strength, but the likes of Ferguson and Daivd Hussey have the talent to take responsibility and it is a big chance for them to prove their worth ahead of Twenty20 world cup 2009. Hopes and Haddin are doing pretty well, while Watson has filled in Ponting’s place in the batting order successfully. Andrew Symonds indicated to be back in form in the second ODI.

Brett Lee has returned to the ODI squad for the remaining two games after getting over his ankle surgery, but the veteran is less likely to feature in action before the only Twenty20 international. Australia’s current pace attack featuring Bracken, Hilfenhaus, Clark and Bollinger may not be a frightening force, but they have been proven to be pretty much effective. Alike Pakistan team, Australia’s bowling attack will also be led by two spinners: Hauritz and Clarke.

Online Live Score and Updates

Here, I am giving some websites from where you can get the live score and updates of the match:

Cricinfo

Sify sports

action8cricket

Cricket365

Thatscricket

cricketnext

Headlinesindia.com

CRICBUZZ

123INDIA.COM

Personally, I want to experience a hard-fought affair in the fourth ODI and much of it would depend on the performance of Pakistan’s bating performance. Australia is now full of confidence after winning two matches in a row, but you can not forget one thing that Pakistan has great history to come back at a crucial time in a series or tournament. So, Australia can not just sit back and relax ahead of the fourth ODI on Friday at Abu Dhabi.

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