Cricket Australia Items/news/2012/10/1/aussies-turn-attention-to-pakistan

Aussies turn attention to Pakistan

UPDATED 20 November, 2012 11:00PM AEST | by James Willoughby 1

Australia will aim to continue their perfect record at the ICC World Twenty20 when they face Pakistan in the last match of the Super Eights stage in Colombo on Tuesday.

Wins over Ireland and the West Indies in Group B helped build momentum for George Bailey's side and they have charged through the next stage of the competition, notching convincing wins against both India and South Africa.


The results have made a mockery of Australia's ninth-placed position in the ICC Twenty20 rankings heading into the tournament, and given the form of all-rounder Shane Watson it is hard to see them losing a match anytime soon.


Watson has not only opened the batting, but also taken the new ball - and has delivered to stunning effect.


With 234 runs in four innings at a strike rate of 163.3 and an average of 88, his batting has been sublime, while he has also claimed 10 wickets at an average of 11.8 and an economy rate of 7.37.


Those statistics make him the leading run-scorer and wicket-taker at the tournament and he has won the man-of-the-match award in all four of Australia's matches.


David Warner (122 runs) and Mitchell Starc (six wickets) have also impressed for the Aussies, who have now become one of the favourites to win the tournament.


But they won't have it all their own way against Pakistan, who beat Australia 2-1 in a three-match series in August and September in the Middle East and cannot be underestimated, with the likes of Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal in their side.


They will look to exploit Australia's middle order, which due to the brilliance of Watson and Warner has not been tested at the tournament.


Bailey and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell have batted just once in four matches while Cameron White has had only two hits.


Australia have also chased in all four of the matches and may find it difficult setting a target.


Pakistan have been victorious in three of their four fixtures, with group wins over New Zealand and Bangladesh - by just 13 and eight runs respectively - followed by a two-wicket win against South Africa that was achieved with just two balls to spare.


India were comprehensive eight-wicket winners against them in their last fixture and they are likely to need victory to progress to the semi-finals, while Australia's progression is all but certain regardless of the result.


Imran Nazir (119 runs) and Hafeez (118 runs) have been Pakistan's best contributors with the bat and Yasir Arafat and Ajmal (five wickets each) have led the way with the ball.


Apart from those two bowlers, no-one has taken more than three wickets and Pakistan have failed to dismiss a team so far.


If Pakistan are to emerge victorious, they will need to improve on their recent form and require a significant contribution from one of their top-order batsmen. 

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 01 October, 2012 12:00AM AEST

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