Australia will have to contend with Pakistan’s strong spin line-up © AFP
By Gaurav Joshi
Mirpur: Mar 22, 2014
For Australia, no ICC World T20 game has been more memorable than their victory over Pakistan in the semi-final of the 2010 edition. In that match, Australia needed 18 runs off the last over. Mike Hussey clobbered Pakistan’s No 1 spinner, Saeed Ajmal, for three sixes and a four to reach the final.
Since that match, Australia has defeated Pakistan only once in six outings. The only victory came in a dead rubber of a T20 International series in 2012. But despite the poor recent record, George Bailey feels Australia’s hard hitting batting order can overcome the Pakistan spinners.
“They have three spinners in the top-10 [of the ICC rankings] at the moment in the T20 format so they are very strong spin side and the conditions over here will play into their hands. But at the same time, I feel we have very strong and hard hitting powerful batting line up so that should help us hopefully overcome the spin threat”
Australia has struggled against Pakistan because they have failed to combat Ajmal. The off-spinner, with the well disguised doosra in his armoury, has picked up 18 wickets in 10 matches at a exceptional economy rate of 6.2 against Australia.
In recent times, the Australian batting has decoded the wily Sunil Narine after facing him consistently in the Indian Premier League (IPL). But with Pakistan players excluded from playing the IPL, it is a challenge for them to overcome Ajmal.
“It is a challenge trying to negotiate the Pakistan spinners especially since the Australian team members don’t have the luxury of facing them day in and day out during the IPL. So we have to talk about the experiences when we have faced them in the past and go from there” said Bailey.
Even though Bailey was confident of tackling the spinners, Pakistan coach Moin Khan still feels the Australians can be exposed by his tweakers. “Well, they can be [susceptible against spin], but of course they’ve been playing really good cricket for a very long time,” Moin said, “But I still believe in my spinners. I think we’re capable to get them.”
Given the strike rate of the Australian top three is over 140 and with the hitting capacity of Glenn Maxwell down the order, Moin also believed it was important Pakistan to fight “fire with fire”
It promises to be a fascinating contest. The last time Australia beat Pakistan in a T20, Hussey had powered them to victory. The same would be expected from the likes of Aaron Finch, David Warner, Shane Watson and Maxwell when they face Pakistan on Sunday.
ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details