Pakistan and Australia start a five-match ODI series in the UAE on Friday with the first match in Sharjah.
While the Aussies have momentum from the 3-2 comeback series win over India, Pakistan have last been in South Africa where they lost 3-2.
Pakistan have lost six of their last nine completed ODIs.
In the UAE, they have won 11 of their last 15 completed ODIs, but just two of their last six.
Pakistan have lost nine of their last ten ODIs against Australia.
Australia have won eight of their last ten ODIs against Pakistan in UAE.
To make sure their key players are fresh for the World Cup, Pakistan have rested as many as six regulars. Even captain Sarfraz Ahmed is rested from the series with Shoaib Malik set to lead the Green Caps.
Impressive performances in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) earned recalls for Umar Akmal, Haris Sohail, Junaid Khan and Yasir Shah.
Exciting names that have been called up for the first time include that of their Test spearhead Mohammad Abbas. Imam-ul-Haq (271 runs) had an excellent ODI series in South Africa with three 50+ scores in five games. This series also provides an opportunity for the likes of Mohammad Rizwan to stake their World Cup claim.
Coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against India marked the first bilateral ODI series win for Australia in seven attempts, stretching back to January 2017.
David Warner, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are set to miss the series but with all four near-certainties in the World Cup squad, the pressure is on others to perform in this series.
Usman Khawaja (383 runs) is coming off a splendid series against India that saw him score four fifty plus scores in five matches. Pat Cummins (14 wickets) and Adam Zampa (11 wickets) have been stellar as well with their returns in India.
Pakistan should be favourites but Australia have the winning momentum behind them and look settled with the squad – much better than what they were when they started the India tour. This could be their best chance to continue winning.
Prediction: Australia win ($1.74 MadBookie)