Cricket World Cup 2019: Pakistan opt to field in overcast Taunton, Australia include Shaun Marsh and Kane Richardson
Sarfaraz Ahmed (AFP Photo)

Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed opted to field against Australia as they look for their second win of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in Taunton on Wednesday.

Pakistan have benched spinner Shadab Khan in place of left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi and will be sporting black bands in memory of their Test umpire Riazuddin who died of a heart attack in Karachi on Tuesday.

“There’s a bit of grass and moisture on the pitch, so we need to take advantage of that. Unfortunately we couldn’t play the last game, but we practised hard in the last few days so the momentum is very high for us,” Sarfaraz said.

Australia have made two changes to their playing XI – one forced and second tactical. Allrounder Marcus Stoinis is out due to a side strain and replaced by Shaun Marsh. They have also dropped their lone specialist spinner Adam Zampa and opted for the pace of Kane Richardson.

Australia captain Aaron Finch said he would have also chosen to bowl first considering ‘a tinge of green and moisture in the wicket.’ “(I) Would’ve bowled first too. A tinge of green and some moisture in the wicket. In a world cup, winning so many against Pakistan doesn’t really matter much. We have to wait and see what the wicket plays like. I expect some swing and seam-movement,” he said at the toss.

Pakistan’s last match against Sri Lanka was washed out due to rain while Australia lost theirs, against former champions India.

Both Australia and Pakistan saw their respective streaks in ODI cricket end in their previous completed matches. While Australia lost to India which ended their run of 11 consecutive victories in the format, Pakistan finally tasted a win after suffering defeat in their last 11 completed ODIs against host England before their following match was abandoned due to rain.

Despite a green top, the pitch is quite dry from underneath, former Australia captain said during his report and suggested that batsmen can have fun provided they settle in first.

Playing XIs

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk/captain), Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir

Australia David Warner, Aaron Finch (captain), Shaun Marsh, Steven Smith, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson