18th Match (D/N), Bengaluru, October 20, 2023, ICC Cricket World Cup
(45.3/50 ov, T:368) 305

Australia won by 62 runs

Player Of The Match
163 (124)
Cricinfo's MVP
234.49 ptsImpact List

Australia and Pakistan bring the World Cup to Bengaluru

Pakistan are ahead of Australia on the points table, but can they bounce back from the severe defeat they suffered against India?

Danyal Rasool
Danyal Rasool

Big picture: Advantage whom?

It's that strange time in the long group stage of the World Cup where the nebulous concept of momentum appears to matter more than a side's actual position on the points table. Pakistan are ahead of Australia every way you slice it - on points, on net run rate. But given Pakistan's penchant for panic the moment anything goes wrong, and Australia's ability to strike when they most need it, this is a contest between a team primed to make a charge, and one that can feel their opponent's breath on their necks. As any Pakistan supporter will tell you, the one team they don't want to play when they really need a win is the one in yellow.
After hidings against India and South Africa, Australia demonstrated they weren't about to give up on their campaign with a whimper. A complete performance with bat, ball and in the field sank Sri Lanka, earning them their first points and improving their negative net run rate. Mitchell Marsh fired after two failures, while Adam Zampa's impressive haul and control through the middle overs marks a point of difference to the Pakistan spin department, who are especially short of form at present.
Australia's failure to keep the opposition openers on a leash two games in a row might be a concern, especially since the Bengaluru pitch is expected to be flat. But the way they pulled Sri Lanka back, taking the last nine wickets for 52 runs, will encourage them, not least because Pakistan crumbled in similar fashion in their most recent encounter.
Despite playing lots of ODIs over the past eight weeks, the jury remains out on the merits of this Pakistan side. The concomitant hysteria that follows a defeat to India has dragged the debate to the extremes, but are not so much as a blank canvas as an abstract portrait, one which can be interpreted in a variety of ways without quite being able to extract any objective truth out of.
They've got an amazing bowling attack, though much of it is either injured or out of form. They possess a sensational top three but refer again to the previous sentence for the caveat. Their middle order has finally begun to perform, though they did lose their last eight for 36 against India. They have a generational allrounder in Shadab Khan, but he's so woefully out of form his place in the starting XI isn't guaranteed. They've notched up two wins in three, though they came against an Associate nation and the only winless side at this tournament.
Perhaps this early in the tournament though, only broad brushstrokes have been committed to canvas, and the full picture is still to emerge. But Australia vs Pakistan has historically always mattered in the World Cup. As both sides try to reinvigorate a campaign that hasn't got off to the best of starts, it's worth remembering there has never been a World Cup where at least one of these two don't make the final four. In Bengaluru, one will take another step to holding up their end of that bargain.

Form guide

Australia WLLWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Pakistan LWWLL

In the spotlight: Maxwell and Babar

Glenn Maxwell's ability to muscle the ball in the middle and death overs is well known, though - aside from a cameo against Sri Lanka - he hasn't lit up this World Cup. Pakistan, however, will be under no illusions about the damage he can do, and not least because he scored a 71-ball 77 in the warm-up game between these sides. Pakistan is Maxwell's favourite ODI side: in 16 innings against them, he has never been dismissed in single figures and averages 52.50 as opposed to a career average of 33.43.
Will the real Babar Azam please stand up? While it may seem unfair to spotlight the highest scorer in Pakistan's dismal batting performance against India, the expectations on Pakistan's captain are disproportionate. As the best batter in the side - and according to ICC rankings - in the world, Babar's campaign began with two soft and cheap dismissals. Against India he fell, uncharacteristically, the next ball after reaching his half-century and Pakistan's foundation was shown to have been built on quicksand. His value to this side extends beyond his mere wicket, and for a man who has dealt with that kind of pressure in this format especially well, this recent dry run is ill-timed.

Team news

There was a bit of uncertainty about the condition of Adam Zampa's back, but Pat Cummins confirmed he was fully fit. Australia should field an unchanged side.
Australia (likely) 1 David Warner 2 Mitchell Marsh 3 Steven Smith 4 Marnus Labuschagne 5 Josh Inglis (wk) 6 Glenn Maxwell 7 Marcus Stoinis 8 Mitchell Starc 9 Pat Cummins (capt) 10 Adam Zampa 11 Josh Hazlewood
A viral infection swept through the Pakistan camp over the past week, though almost everyone is on the mend now. Fakhar Zaman, dropped earlier in the tournament, is unavailable for at least two games due to a knee injury. Pakistan's middle-over struggles with the ball, combined with a flat wicket, mean they are contemplating ringing the changes. One of Shadab Khan or Mohammad Nawaz may miss out, with legspinner Usama Mir primed to play his first World Cup game.
Pakistan (likely) 1 Abdullah Shafique 2 Imam-ul-Haq 3 Babar Azam (capt) 4 Mohammad Rizwan (wk) 5 Saud Shakeel 6 Mohammad Nawaz/Shadab Khan 7 Iftikhar Ahmed 8 Usama Mir 9 Hasan Ali 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi 11 Haris Rauf

Pitch and conditions

The pitch at the Chinnaswamy Stadium is expected to be flat and the boundaries short. Expect a run-fest, one which rain has no chance of interrupting.

Stats and trivia

  • Zampa requires three wickets to reach 150 ODI scalps; the only other Australian legspinner to manage that is Shane Warne.
  • The 10 ODI World Cup encounters between Australia and Pakistan have been split 6-4 in favour of Australia. The five-time champions have dominated the head-to-head of late, winning four of their last five World Cup matches stretching back to the 1999 final.
  • Each of the last six ODI World Cup matches between these two have been won by the side that lost the toss.


"Pakistan are a side that always seem to be right up there. Pretty well structured. They're a really strong side pretty much in all facets"
Pat Cummins isn't taking Pakistan lightly

Danyal Rasool is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @Danny61000

Win Probability
AUS 100%
100%50%100%AUS InningsPAK Innings

Over 46 • PAK 305/10

Shaheen Shah Afridi c Labuschagne b Cummins 10 (8b 2x4 0x6 17m) SR: 125
Australia won by 62 runs
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