The second semi-final of this T20 World Cup sees Pakistan vs Australia. Pakistan have been the team of the tournament so far, winning all five of their Super 12 games, remaining the only side to be unbeaten at this stage of the tournament. For the Aussies, they finished second in their group behind England. Heading into the tournament with numerous questions to answer and head coach Justin Langer under pressure to deliver, his players have responded with four wins in the group stage, with the only blip coming against England.
In a match-up between two of the giants of the game, it's Pakistan, who are the very slight bookies' favourites priced at 1.80. The Aussies can be backed at 2.00.
Pakistan vs Australia T20 World Cup
Team News for Pakistan
Pakistan continue to go from strength to strength in this tournament. After such a dominant performance against India, many questioned whether they could keep their levels up, and the answer has been a resounding yes. After beating India, the Pakistanis edged two tight contests against both New Zealand and Afghanistan before swatting away both Scotland and Namibia with minimal fuss.
You could argue that no other side has the balance that Pakistan does. The side has two world-class openers, a middle-order packed with power hitters, and a fantastic variety of spin and seam options in their bowling attack. They seem completely at home on the surface and bring fanatical support wherever they go.
Haris Rauf was Pakistan's leading bowler during the Super 12 phase with 8 wickets in his 5 appearances. Rauf is one of the world's quickest bowlers and has caused trouble to all of the opposition he has faced so far. Odds of 4.33 to his team's leading bowler could be a great bet.
Likely playing 11 of Pakistan
Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi
Team News for Australia
Considering the pressure this Australian side were under heading into the tournament, the Aussies and their fans will be absolutely delighted with how far they have come.
Recently Australia have been one of the worst T20 sides in all of the world, losing series against England, the West Indies, and Bangladesh. Australia have never won a T20 World Cup, and considering the success, they have had in the main 50 over World Cup, it's a very surprising stat.
This year that could change as several of their top stars look to be in really good form.
David Warner has had a fantastic tournament, scoring plenty of runs at the top of the order; Steve Smith and Glen Maxwell have looked really good in the middle overs. The Australian bowling attack, when fully firing, is probably the best in the world.
An unsung hero in this Aussie team is bowler Adam Zampa. Zampa has been Australia's main T20 spin bowler for years now, and he has an uncanny ability to take wickets at vital times. He took the third most wickets in the Super 12 phase with eleven in total, and to be his side's leading wicket-taker in this match; he is priced at 3.75.
Likely playing 11 of Australia
Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood
Pitch and Weather Conditions
This match will be held in Dubai, where the final will also be played.
Both sides have already played several matches at this venue, with Pakistan beating both India and Afghanistan and Australia beating both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka but losing to England.
In total, there have been 69 T20 contests held at this stadium. There have been 34 games where the side batting first has won, and 35 games have been won by the side batting second. The average score for the first innings is 144, with the second innings average at 122. So far, during this World Cup, the team that has batted second has gone on to win every game held at this venue.
Betting Predictions for Pakistan vs Australia
Let's take a look at a few important betting predictions for Pakistan vs Australia:
Match Result Prediction
This promises to be a spectacular contest between two evenly matched sides.
It's easy to see why Pakistan are the favourites; they have the better record from the Super 12 stage, will be playing in conditions they enjoy, and will have the large majority of the crowd supporting them. However, Australia would probably be a side they would want to avoid at this stage.
Pakistan are a team full of prestigious talent, but in the past, they have fallen short on the biggest stage or against a side that can stick in. You know what you are going to get with Australia, a side that will fight and grind for every run, and no matter the score, they won't give in or make life easy for Pakistan.
Due to the performances of both Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan, much of Pakistan's lower and middle order haven't spent a great deal of time in the middle; if Australia can remove the Pakistani openers quickly, they will fancy their chances against a potentially exposed batting line up.
This is what we ultimately think this match will come down to, the battle between the Pakistan openers and the Australian bowlers. If the Aussies can make early inroads, they will be in a really strong position.
This match will be ever so close, and we think a shock might be on the cards, so at the slightly better prices, we will back Australia to reach their first T20 World Cup final since 2010.
Match Winner: Australia (2.00)
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Either team to win the toss can be backed at 1.91. On a pitch that could be very hard to bat on, the side that wins the toss will want to field to try and limit the total of the team that bats first. Any score over 150 should be very hard to chase.
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Top Batsman for Australia
In a match where the pressure is truly on, we are going to back Steve Smith to score the most runs for Australia.
Smith has proven time and again that he is a batsman that can perform when the pressure is at its most, and he looks an excellent option to be his team's top scorer. There won't be any fireworks when Smith bats, but he has the ability to drop anchor and score steadily while others play around him. He hasn't been at his very best this tournament with scores of 35, 28, and 1, but when the stakes are this high, there isn't anybody else we would want to back.
Top Batsman for Australia: Steve Smith (7.00)
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