|Scorecard:||Australia v Pakistan|
|Event:||ICC World Twenty20 2012/13|
DateLine: 2nd October 2012
Pakistan vs Australia
World T20 2012
Super Eight Stage
Annihilated by India in their second Super Eight match, an inconsistent and rather unpredictable Pakistan side are faced with a do-or-die situation needing nothing less than a big win when they take on rampaging Australia in the World Twenty20 today at Colombo.
The Aussies are brimming with confidence after two comprehensive wins over India and South Africa, in their last two Super Eights games, and are currently the best-placed team in the group. George Bailey's side enjoy a healthy net run-rate of +1.7, and for them to go out, both Pakistan and India (who face South Africa) will have to win their matches by around 40 runs (assuming both bat first and score close to 160).
Pakistan have to pick-up and 'glue' together the pieces leftover from their all-round failure against the arch-rivals and come up with an inspired performance against the unbeaten Australian side, the team which has been almost assured a semifinal berth. Although the Pakistan side came up with a spectacular late show to win their first Super Eights game against South Africa, suffered a complete change of fortunes in their second game against India, where they lost by eight wickets and looked second-best in all three departments. Hafeez's side are only just ahead of India in terms of net run-rate (-0.42 and -0.45) and they will not be guarantee a spot in the final even if they beat Australia, as they will have to hope that India do not beat South Africa by a better margin.
If Mohammad Hafeez's men lose today, then everything will boil down to the explosive clash between India and SA. A win against the Proteas will be good enough for them to march into the last-four stage. Even in case of a defeat, India should ensure that they don't lose by a big margin.
South Africa have lost both their matches in contrasting manner, a close defeat against Pakistan and a comprehensive loss against Australia. Even if they win, it would be an unlikely proposition for the AB de Villiers' side to seal a semifinal berth as their inferior run-rate (-0.605) at this stage of the tournament makes their case weak.
Australia are the in-form side of the tournament with the top-order batsmen in roaring form and the front-line bowlers among the wickets. The main worry for Pakistan would be swashbuckling Australian openers Shane Watson and David Warner, who have become the most successful pair in the T20 Internationals.
On Sunday against South Africa, Watson single-handedly guided the team to victory with a brutal 47-ball 70 and 2/29 while bowling. Such has been the terror of the marauding all-rounder that Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore cracked a joke that his team will either have to poison Watson's food or hope that he has a bad day in office against them. Watson has so far collected four man of the match trophies and has scored 234 runs in the tournament. His bowling has also fetched him 10 wickets.
Veteran Mike Hussey has also done his bit at one down and came good against the Proteas with a 37-ball 45. Though fast bowlers, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, went wicketless in the last game but produced pace and bounce on a slowish Premadasa strip against the Indians. Left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty picked up three wickets for 20 runs in his economical spell against the South Africans. Brad Hogg has also taken two wickets from the three matches he has played so far and without being expensive. Both can be handful if the pitch assists slow bowlers. If there is any cause of worry for the Australians, it could be their middle order batsmen as they have not been tested in the tournament.
On the other hand, Pakistan looked completely out of sorts against India. On their day, the likes of Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez can take any bowling side to the cleaners but they wilted under pressure against India. Pakistan's front-line bowlers, Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Yasir Arafat, also failed to make any impression against a solid Indian line-up.
Another problem for Pakistan has been Afridi's continuing dip in form especially with the willow. Some pundits are suggesting he does not deserve a place in the team anymore. A lot will also depend on Pakistan's most talented young batsman Umar Akmal who on his day can also take apart any bowling attack in the world.
Bailey has no injury or fitness worries, and after outperforming South Africa in the last game, he should field the same line-up.
Hafeez, who has five spinners in his usual XI, might not deploy youngster Raza Hasan against Australia. Pacer Mohammad Sami or the tricky Sohail Tanvir may get a chance.
Pitch and Conditions:
There was some rain in Colombo the day before. The forecast for the day is partly cloudy weather.
Pakistan (from): Mohammad Hafeez (capt.), Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal (wk), Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Nasir Jamshed, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Sami, Asad Shafiq, Raza Hasan.
Australia (from): George Bailey (capt), Dan Christian, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hogg, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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