Pakistan skipper Babar Azam opted to field first after winning the toss for the 18th match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup against Australia at India’s Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The Green Shirts are under immense pressure heading into the crucial encounter, reeling from a demoralizing seven-wicket defeat to arch-rivals India. The setback has sparked widespread criticism, casting a shadow of doubt over their World Cup hopes.
In addition to the mental scars inflicted by the loss to India, both teams are grappling with fitness concerns. Several Pakistani players have been struck down by a viral fever that has swept through Bangalore, forcing Shadab Khan out of the match. Usama Mir has been named as his replacement.
“It’s a dream for everyone to play for Pakistan,” said Mir, expressing his delight at the opportunity to represent his country in the World Cup. “I am really happy to get to play for Pakistan in the World Cup. We’re aiming to make this match unforgettable with our performance.”
Meanwhile, Australia are facing a shortage of spin bowling options, with Adam Zampa battling back spasms. The absence of a second specialist spinner could prove costly on a surface that is expected to take turn.
Babar Azam (c), Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
Pat Cummins (c), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
The match is a must-win for both teams, with Pakistan desperate to get their campaign back on track and Australia eager to maintain their momentum. The outcome is sure to have a significant impact on the race for the semi-finals.