Iran will face Australia at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers in Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena on Friday.
Last time the two Asian powerhouses met at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup final showpiece in Lebanon where the Boomers came out victorious 79-56.
Trailing the Aussies in the second place of the qualifiers’ Group F, Iran will head into the game without four regulars – Hamed Haddadi, Samad Nikkhah Bahrami, Arsalan Kazemi and Sajjad Mashayekhi.
Veteran Aren Davoudi, having played in five qualifying games, mostly off the bench, is expected to step up for this one and will need to raise up to the occasion as he will likely guard Australia's Jason Cadee who has averaged 4.4 assists and just 0.3 turnovers per game in this campaign so far.
Other players expected to carry the load for Iran are Mohammad Jamshidi, Maysam Mirzaei, Behnam Yakhchali and Mohammad Hassanzadeh.
Although Iran faces a tough job on Friday, it is a threat and could pull off a stunner against the Boomers.
A victory on Friday will secure a place in next year’s world event for the Asian champion while Iran will take a major stride toward qualification for next summer’s prestigious meet in China if it beats the Aussies against the odds.