The news from the centre is that the pitch is very dry. Looks like it will be another field day for the spinners. But as has been the case throughout this tourney, there will be something for the pacers as well. Will the team batting second win this encounter as well? Stay tuned to find out.
Hello and welcome to the last day of the Super 8s. 2 semi-finalists have been decided and 8 hours later, we shall know the other two. Today’s first game is Australia vs Pakistan. The former will look to assert their supremacy, while the latter will look to brush away the loss against India and win convincingly. We shall bring you the scenarios in a while
Australia have almost assured themselves a place in the semi-finals with comfortable victories against India and South Africa and they will look to extend their unbeaten run in the tournament when they take on Pakistan in the penultimate match of the Super 8s. For Pakistan, it is a tough situation as they will be competing with the other teams in their group to make it to the next round and even a win for them will not immediately assure them of a place.
What they need to do to qualify: There is an intriguing fight between three teams in Group 2 to make it to the semi-final. While Australia are clear favourites to make it to the final four, The outcome of the matches between Australia-Pakistan and India-South Africa will eventually decide the semi-finalists from the group. A win for Australia will guarantee them a place. If they end up losing to Pakistan and India beat South Africa, then Australia, India and Pakistan will end up with two wins each. Even a loss to Australia will not matter much for them as they have a superior net run-rate. Unless they suffer a sound thrashing at the hands of Pakistan and India beat South Africa by a thumping margin, Australia not making it to the next round is unlikely. For Pakistan to get through, they need to beat Australia by a good margin and hope that their net run-rate is better than India if their sub-continent neighbours happen to beat South Africa. If Pakistan lose to Australia, they still can make it to the semis. But for that to happen, South Africa will have to beat India and the NRR of both India and South Africa must be lower than that of Pakistan.
Head to head: Australia have played a total of 10 T20Is against Pakistan. The team from Down Under ended up victorious on 4 occasions while losing 5 times. One game ended in a tie. The Australians have a better success ratio against Pakistan in World T20s, having won twice while ending up on the losing side once.
Australia: The team from Down Under have been by far one the best teams in the competition, having won all their matches so far. It is the impact of Shane Watson that has put Australia in this position as the all-rounder has performed brilliantly with both the bat and the ball in all the games Australia have played, in fact bagging the Man of the Match awards in all the four matches. David Warner too has been doing well at the top. Barring his failure in the match against South Africa, Warner has been lending Watson good support. Michael Hussey, batting at number 3 in this competition, has also done a good job whenever he has got an opportunity. While Australia’s top three being in prime form is a big advantage for the side, therein also lies the team’s weakness. The likes of Cameron White, George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell have not got enough opportunities with the bat and in case of a collapse at the top, the middle order would be exposed. White has batted twice and has scored a couple of twenties but there was no pressure whenever he came out and it will be a whole different scenario in case Australia lose early wickets.
Australia have some concerns with the bowling department. Although Watson has been doing a good job with the ball as well, having taken 10 wickets in the tournament so far, the likes of Pat Cummins, Brad Hogg, Dan Christian and Glenn Maxwell have economy rates in excess of 7, which has meant that the oppositions have been able to post decent totals. Although Watson’s efforts has eclipsed this, expecting him to perform every time is asking a lot. Mitchell Starc is the other main-wicket taker for the Aussies and he also has a decent economy rate. Xavier Doherty was a surprise inclusion in the match against South Africa and he made an impression straight away with a fine bowling spell. But it is still unclear if he will play against Pakistan, as subcontinent teams are known to play spin well and it might come to a choice between Doherty and Hogg. Watson and Starc will be the key bowlers again but skipper Bailey will be hoping for the others to contribute as well.
Pakistan: In big tournaments, Pakistan’s performance has always been up and down and it is the same case with them in this edition of the T20 World Cup. The main reason for their indifferent form is because the top order has been inconsistent. The likes of Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Nazir and Nasir Jamshed failed in both of Pakistan’s Super 8 matches while Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik too have not been doing well. Although it did not matter much against South Africa as Umar Akmal and Umar Gul pulled off a victory from the jaws of defeat, the entire batting order failed against India, despite the opposition having a relatively weak bowling attack. Going up against the likes of Cummins, Starc and Watson will be a lot different and unless the Pakistani batsmen stick around for a longer period of time, it will not be easy going for the Hafeez-led side. With both the top order and the middle not contributing, Pakistan cannot expect close victories all the time and unless the batsmen do their tasks right, Pakistan might well be out of the competition by the end of the Super 8s stage.
Pakistan have always depended on their bowlers to do the job, which they have been doing even in this tournament. Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi have been bowling well, although the first two do not have too many wickets to speak for their efforts. Young left-arm spinner Raza Hasan also impressed in the couple of outings that he has had. The main concern in the bowling department for Pakistan has to do with the performance of the seamers. Umar Gul has been taken for a lot of runs and has also not been picking up wickets while Yasir Arafat too has been expensive, despite having taken 5 wickets so far. Pakistan will need the seamers to be at the top of their game, especially when bowling to powerful hitters like Watson and Warner.
I think he’s (Watson) really set himself to be the man of the series, to be the person who leads Australia as far as he can in this tournament. When you see how he plays this form of the game, he’s almost the complete cricketer: Australia captain George Bailey
We have had some reasonable performances against Australia just recently. But they have played very well in the last three weeks or so, in their warm-up games and in this tournament so far. It will be a good test, they are a good side: Pakistan coach Dave Whatmore
Australia (From): David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Hussey, Cameron White, George Bailey(c), Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade(w), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Brad Hogg, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, David Hussey, Daniel Christian, Clint McKay
Pakistan (From): Mohammad Hafeez(c), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal(w), Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan, Asad Shafiq, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Sami, Sohail Tanvir