With nothing less than a win required to stay in the competition, Paul Krishnamurty says Pakistan's talented yet erratic side represent excellent value to upset the odds...
"While it is logical that Australia start favourites, odds of 1.4640/85 seem way too short...For all Pakistan's problems, they remain a highly talented side...perfectly capable of rising to a must-win occasion."
Pakistan v Australia
Friday, 09:30 GMT
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2
Needing to win this match before relying upon further results and run-rate calculations, the 2009 champions are on the brink. While the sequence of events required to reach the semi-final are plausible, outright odds of 36.035/1 reflect the lack of confidence in this particular World Cup bid.
Two thumping defeats, the obligatory dressing room divisions and injuries to key men Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Hafeez do not strengthen the case either. The loss of Wahab Riaz is particularly significant, especially given three of their five bowlers conceded more than 10 per over against New Zealand.
In his absence, Pakistan need Mohammad Amir to remind us of the form that made him one of the world's great fast bowling propects before his ban. Hafeez is also a big loss to the batting line-up, but the likes of Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik are capable of compensating.
A predictably easy win over Bangladesh keeps the Aussie title hopes alive, but serious question marks remain about this particular squad's suitability in sub-continent conditions. On that score, new spinner Adam Zampa's economical three wickets were a big boost.
So too was another productive innings from emerging star Usman Khawaja, who is making the opener's slot his own and keeping Aaron Finch out of the side. Khawaja, however, is the only Australian batsman to reach 30 so far in this World Cup.
First Innings Runs
The pitch is reportedly similar to the one New Zealand scored 180 first up on against Pakistan on Tuesday. That felt slightly over par, but big scores are very possible at this ground.
In the IPL, Kings XI Punjab matches have regularly involved scores above 200 and in the only previous international here, India chased down 206 with five balls to spare. With neither bowling attack at their best, 'Overs' looks the way to go. I'll be looking to back the 180 or more, and 200 or more bands.
While it is logical that Australia start favourites, odds of 1.4640/85 seem way too short. They've hardly been overwhelmingly impressive and have known weaknesses.
For all Pakistan's problems, they remain a highly talented side, including potentially gamechanging individuals, perfectly capable of rising to a must-win occasion.
This looks ideal back-to-lay material. My advice is to back Pakistan at 3.1511/5 for five units, then place a lay order for 10 units at 1.51/2. If they shorten to the target, we'll double our money at least with a little extra left on a Pakistan win.
Top Pakistan Batsman
Pakistan's openers aren't convincing enough to back at short odds, and their middle-order always seem like better value bets. Umar Akmal rates best at around 6.411/2, in expectation of him batting at four. Not only is Akmal capable of holding the innings together if early wickets fall, but he can also be a devastating finisher.
Top Australia Batsman
Khawaja aside, the Aussie order is unsettled, taking much appeal away from shorter-priced candidates. James Faulkner will probably come in at seven, but he has been known to be promoted for both club and country, and is always a good long shot at odds around 36.035/1.
Back to Lay
Back Pakistan 5u @ minimum 3.1511/5
Place in-play order to lay 10u @ 1.51/2
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