World Twenty20 2012 October 2, 2012

When Watson fails

Shane Watson has been a visible giant beast in this tournament; everyone has seen what he can do
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Shane Watson has been a visible giant beast in this tournament; everyone has seen what he can do. Everyone one was waiting for him to fail. When he did he managed to bring Australia crashing down with him.

Other than Watson, the Aussie that everyone has been talking about is David Hussey. The most prolific run scorer in domestic T20 history, which is not really much of a history, but still. He's also 23rd on the list of international T20 run scorers. He can bowl right arm fast offspin, and is a demon in the field.

If you were to build the perfect T20 player, you'd build Watson or Chris Gayle. If you were mass marketing T20 players, you'd sell millions of David Hussey.

Australian fans and Ian Chappell have been saying David Hussey's name like he is the missing link between Australia winning or losing this tournament. Hussey's spot is being taken by either the captain they'd never heard of, George Bailey, the re-cycled Cameron White, or the new man with the big ego, Glenn Maxwell.

Even when Hussey was a member of the middle order, it's been seen as susceptible to spin and weak. But for four glorious games, they were not required. Watson had punched, smashed and crashed through anyone in Australia's way. The middle order was only brought on when the opposition had been mentally broken.

Shane Watson couldn't save them forever.

Australia had secret camps, brought in spinners from across their country, ventured into the desert and took on the beast of Ajmal, all so that they could be ready for this tournament and the wily mystery spinners they would have to handle. They handled the 18 overs of Pakistan spin (it would have been 20 if not for Shoaib Malik getting Mike Hussey treatment) much the same way you would a chest bursting alien popping out.

Every fear that the Aussies had that their middle order wasn't up to scratch was ripped open. Bailey started well, but missed two short balls from Ajmal in a row. White hit a big six, before holing out. And Maxwell didn't last long at all.

Australia's batsmen were so poor that if Mike Hussey had not played the innings he did, Australia had put themselves in a position to go out of the tournament. Now sure, it may say more about a tournament where you can lose only one game and not qualify, or win only two and qualify, but that is just how much the Pakistani spinners dominated the Australian batsmen.

Play it awkwardly or try and hit it really hard seemed to be their main game plan, and it came unstuck with ease. Watson, Warner and Hussey have looked decisive, powerful and dismissive of spinners in this tournament. The rest of the batsmen have looked confused, limp and scared as they poked around uncertainly.

There will be calls for David Hussey to come straight back in. He can't replace Bailey, but Maxwell and White could easily slip out of the side.

Maxwell is, in theory, safe because of his bowling. But in five matches he's bowled only seven overs, and it seems that one or two a night is his limit. White helps out with tactics, but in the subcontinent often bats a bit like a lumbering dinosaur trying to catch prey that is far quicker than him. When he catches it, he kills it, but he often goes hungry.

And all those calling for David Hussey's imminent return should see his record from the UAE, but not if they have a full stomach. He made 13, 3, 0, 43, 3 and 1 on that tour, which is why the selectors went for White and Maxwell in the first place.

While David Hussey might not be the answer, if the selectors do want to bring him in to bolster the middle order, in case of Watson emergencies, they can without losing Maxwell or White. Brad Hogg has taken two wickets in five matches, his economy rate is 7.55, but his fielding and batting are not the Brad Hogg of his teens, twenties or even thirties. Against Pakistan the man with Test batting average of 26 and first-class average of 35 watched Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins bat before him. Hogg has not been the success story that Australia would have hoped for.

Regardless of whether Hussey, Maxwell, White or Hogg play, it now looks like Australia can only win this tournament they don't play Pakistan in the final or Watson continues to be the beast.

Watson is only one man, but as Australia scrambled around against spin, he felt like more than that.

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dave on October 3, 2012, 23:28 GMT

    The stuff of dreams. Keep telling yourself the same tired story. AUS smashed Pakistan and tied one game in the UAE, beat them in the ODIs when Watson wasn't even playing. The results clearly show that the teams are well-matched in these conditions (AUS would walk it in outside the sub-continent). And now after one 30 run win when AUS were making sure to secure 112 to make the semis, we are supposed to believe they can't beat PAK again? Dream on. Maybe AUS will win the next game by 80 runs like they did 2 games ago. Or did you forget that game after the 30 run win here? Yes, maybe Watson will fail. But maybe Starc will rip through the PAK batting lineup, as so many fastbowlers have. Maybe Warner will hit another 50 ball T20 century, or Hussey will smash a heap of sixes like the last T20 WC. All possible, but none worth dreaming about.

  • hepziline on October 3, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    stop kidding guys throw maxwell,bailey out maybe then we have a chance of making it to the final its not that they are worthles just that they are inexperienced i totally agree with the author guys pls dont hang on poor watto's shoulders

  • Aditya Mookerjee on October 3, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    Can I be honest? Not about Watson. He reminds me of two extraordinary all rounders who played for India. They seemed to be indespensible to Indian fortunes. It doesn't seem as if Watson is an extraordinary talent. I loved to watch Mr. Binny and Mr. Lal bowl, I hope, not because I am an Indian. In England, if these two players were bowling and batting, India could be easily the strongest team, and they might have a better chance of winning a Test series, than Australia's chances. These players didn't play for England, but India. Under Artherton, bowlers who were front line, didn't do what these two bowlers did. I did feel pretty awful, that Artherton didn't beat Australia, regularly, in England.

  • Qazi Hassan on October 3, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    It not just Watson, it is the opening pair. I won many bets correctly predicting Australia's win/won based on first two overs. If the openers went away in first two overs, Australia. Pakistan did it again and again in UAE. As for Hussey brothers, one need to see what Saeed Ajmal does, because ever since a Hussey hit those infamous sixes off him in the WC semi final, they seem to fall cheaply to Saeed Ajmal.

  • Teimoor on October 3, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    "They handled the 18 overs of Pakistan spin (it would have been 20 if not for Shoaib Malik getting Mike Hussey treatment) much the same way you would a chest bursting alien popping out."

    Hillarious!

  • Hari Ravi on October 3, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Its true that Watson is the big gap betwenn Aussies and all teams and between him and all others in the Aussie team. The way he has batted here shows the potential he has and the ability as an all rounder he has developed. Aussie middle order looks very weak in the absence of Ponting, Clarke and David Hussey. I think bailey is a big liability and a utility player like David and Christian are left out. Like SL did Aussies should look at changing the captain for the final, in case they qualify and Pak is their opponent. Watson or Mike Hussey should lead and Bailey should sit out. Watson's borad shoulders are taking a lot of responsibility and hope he succeeds for just 2 more games so that Aussies will fill in the blank in their list of World Cups!

  • Daison on October 3, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    When Australia played Pakistan before the WorldT20, one would have thought they had the "measure" of the Pakistan's spin bowling. But it turned out that Pakistan Spinners have the measure of Ausee batsmen and have apparently found more ways to get them out.

  • Saeed Iqbal on October 3, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    watson is seems to the backbone of the batting order specially now a day and every team is looking to get him early as soon as possible. because of his aggressive strike rate he is mojor problem for the opponents but on the other hand by observing him that these team dont play spin at master level.

  • ramanujam sridhar on October 3, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    Actually the problem was that Pakistan bowled 18 overs of spin and most of the Australians got out trying to hit the ball. With any other team there will be a combination of pace and spin and that should be manageable. I think Maxwell as a bowler is really making up the numbers and on any day in any condition he cannot be as good as david Hussey is. And lets not forget Maxwell dropped Jamsher in the first over of Staarc and he cashed in big time on that. It is stupid to make predictions but Australia should really worry about Gayle and the windies instead of worrying unduly about the finals. Forty overs can be a long time as they realized yesterday. Get back McKay and David Hussey and not worry about what happened yesterday is my two bit to the aussies . Ramanujam Sridhar

  • andrew schulz on October 3, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    A few points are missed in this article. Australia could certainly beat Pakistan on another day. At the 1999 world cup Pakistan won the group stage, made a lot of noise about it, and were thumped with 30 overs to spare by Australia in the final. The final will be played later in the night, when spinners have rarely been a strong factor because of the dew. And to say 'the rest of the batsmen have looked limp, confused....' is ridiculous. This was the only hit they have had in the tournament! What of the competitive series they have just played in the UAE? Big difference is that Raza Hassan has been discovered since then, but to say Australia could not beat Pakistan in the final is as confused as you are making the Aussie batsmen out to be. Every dog has its day (as Steve Waugh said to a gloating Shoaib Akhtar when Pakistan won that said game back in 1999), and if these two meet in a final, that dog is far more likely to be Austalia.

  • Dave on October 3, 2012, 23:28 GMT

    The stuff of dreams. Keep telling yourself the same tired story. AUS smashed Pakistan and tied one game in the UAE, beat them in the ODIs when Watson wasn't even playing. The results clearly show that the teams are well-matched in these conditions (AUS would walk it in outside the sub-continent). And now after one 30 run win when AUS were making sure to secure 112 to make the semis, we are supposed to believe they can't beat PAK again? Dream on. Maybe AUS will win the next game by 80 runs like they did 2 games ago. Or did you forget that game after the 30 run win here? Yes, maybe Watson will fail. But maybe Starc will rip through the PAK batting lineup, as so many fastbowlers have. Maybe Warner will hit another 50 ball T20 century, or Hussey will smash a heap of sixes like the last T20 WC. All possible, but none worth dreaming about.

  • hepziline on October 3, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    stop kidding guys throw maxwell,bailey out maybe then we have a chance of making it to the final its not that they are worthles just that they are inexperienced i totally agree with the author guys pls dont hang on poor watto's shoulders

  • Aditya Mookerjee on October 3, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    Can I be honest? Not about Watson. He reminds me of two extraordinary all rounders who played for India. They seemed to be indespensible to Indian fortunes. It doesn't seem as if Watson is an extraordinary talent. I loved to watch Mr. Binny and Mr. Lal bowl, I hope, not because I am an Indian. In England, if these two players were bowling and batting, India could be easily the strongest team, and they might have a better chance of winning a Test series, than Australia's chances. These players didn't play for England, but India. Under Artherton, bowlers who were front line, didn't do what these two bowlers did. I did feel pretty awful, that Artherton didn't beat Australia, regularly, in England.

  • Qazi Hassan on October 3, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    It not just Watson, it is the opening pair. I won many bets correctly predicting Australia's win/won based on first two overs. If the openers went away in first two overs, Australia. Pakistan did it again and again in UAE. As for Hussey brothers, one need to see what Saeed Ajmal does, because ever since a Hussey hit those infamous sixes off him in the WC semi final, they seem to fall cheaply to Saeed Ajmal.

  • Teimoor on October 3, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    "They handled the 18 overs of Pakistan spin (it would have been 20 if not for Shoaib Malik getting Mike Hussey treatment) much the same way you would a chest bursting alien popping out."

    Hillarious!

  • Hari Ravi on October 3, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Its true that Watson is the big gap betwenn Aussies and all teams and between him and all others in the Aussie team. The way he has batted here shows the potential he has and the ability as an all rounder he has developed. Aussie middle order looks very weak in the absence of Ponting, Clarke and David Hussey. I think bailey is a big liability and a utility player like David and Christian are left out. Like SL did Aussies should look at changing the captain for the final, in case they qualify and Pak is their opponent. Watson or Mike Hussey should lead and Bailey should sit out. Watson's borad shoulders are taking a lot of responsibility and hope he succeeds for just 2 more games so that Aussies will fill in the blank in their list of World Cups!

  • Daison on October 3, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    When Australia played Pakistan before the WorldT20, one would have thought they had the "measure" of the Pakistan's spin bowling. But it turned out that Pakistan Spinners have the measure of Ausee batsmen and have apparently found more ways to get them out.

  • Saeed Iqbal on October 3, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    watson is seems to the backbone of the batting order specially now a day and every team is looking to get him early as soon as possible. because of his aggressive strike rate he is mojor problem for the opponents but on the other hand by observing him that these team dont play spin at master level.

  • ramanujam sridhar on October 3, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    Actually the problem was that Pakistan bowled 18 overs of spin and most of the Australians got out trying to hit the ball. With any other team there will be a combination of pace and spin and that should be manageable. I think Maxwell as a bowler is really making up the numbers and on any day in any condition he cannot be as good as david Hussey is. And lets not forget Maxwell dropped Jamsher in the first over of Staarc and he cashed in big time on that. It is stupid to make predictions but Australia should really worry about Gayle and the windies instead of worrying unduly about the finals. Forty overs can be a long time as they realized yesterday. Get back McKay and David Hussey and not worry about what happened yesterday is my two bit to the aussies . Ramanujam Sridhar

  • andrew schulz on October 3, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    A few points are missed in this article. Australia could certainly beat Pakistan on another day. At the 1999 world cup Pakistan won the group stage, made a lot of noise about it, and were thumped with 30 overs to spare by Australia in the final. The final will be played later in the night, when spinners have rarely been a strong factor because of the dew. And to say 'the rest of the batsmen have looked limp, confused....' is ridiculous. This was the only hit they have had in the tournament! What of the competitive series they have just played in the UAE? Big difference is that Raza Hassan has been discovered since then, but to say Australia could not beat Pakistan in the final is as confused as you are making the Aussie batsmen out to be. Every dog has its day (as Steve Waugh said to a gloating Shoaib Akhtar when Pakistan won that said game back in 1999), and if these two meet in a final, that dog is far more likely to be Austalia.

  • Simoc on October 3, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    Well we're in the semis and half of the team haven't done much. David Hussey hasn't been missed but he has to be a better than Maxwell or Hogg. White continues his minimalist approach and probably has one or two games for Australia left in him. On the bright side Starc has been excellent and has improved out of sight in the last twelve months. It'll be good if we get another go at Pakistan when it counts.

  • Aijaz on October 3, 2012, 2:51 GMT

    Excellent article! I think still Australia can beat Pakistan if their fast bowlers restrict Pakistan around 100. There is a strong possibility that both teams will again be facing each other in final.

  • khurram on October 3, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    No matter what was the result today Australia are still gonna remain a Special side blessed with lots of Talent.they Performed excellent through out the tournament they have beaten high rank teams and the more i liek about them is there attitude towards evry Format of the game.

  • Simon on October 3, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    I agree, Dave Hussey should replace Brad Hogg. My line up 1 Warner 2 Watson 3 M Hussey 4 White 5 Bailey 6 D Hussey 7. Wade 8. Maxwell 9. Cummins 10. Starc 11. Doherty

  • David on October 3, 2012, 2:15 GMT

    Not enough credit goes to Mike Hussey, to be fair Watsons performances over shadows M Huseeys contributions but he deserves a lot of praise for his performances so far!

  • bobagorof on October 2, 2012, 23:38 GMT

    For all the hype and their overall records, both Cameron White and David Hussey have had pretty poor results over the last couple of years in Twenty20 - which is a stark turnaround from their efforts prior to this. Both had been averaging about 14 with the bat (striking marginally above and below 100, respectively) in their previous 10-15 innings. It's no surprise that White was dropped from the team (while Captain) and Hussey has struggled to make it into the side so far this tournament.

  • Dewan Shari on October 2, 2012, 23:23 GMT

    Well all was said on the count of Watson and Aussies what about the performance this Pakistan bowling attack put together against India. what happened to them at that day. let me assure you with this fact that Pakistan bowlers need some runs on the board which fortunately or unfortunately were there. lets just put Aussies in the same place where India was not 2 days ago and see what happens than Aussies will win. its just Pakistan's bowling attack in spin might be strong but there own fielding and batting is so unpredictable that they can loose a match if Aussies put Brad Hogg and Pet Cummings as openers because you never know even if they can score 100 in a match

  • b3iv5onr on October 2, 2012, 21:46 GMT

    Don't worry man. Australia has nothing to fear. If Pakistan make it to the finals the Australians have the added advantage of Pakistani brittle batsmen being on their side. Unless Gul has a Mighty Watto like game with the bat we may stand no chance. That is if they make it to the final.

  • BravoNovember on October 2, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    Your comment on Cameron White a la a lumbering dinosaur in the sub continent is spot on. I watched a lot of his game in the IPL and that's the perfect description.

  • bilal on October 2, 2012, 21:21 GMT

    wow Jarrod.. so harsh!! Australia has always been a quality team. It just wasn't their day. Playing spin is not that easy, you have to have patience and skills to work the ball as there is no pace in the ball, YOU have to hit in the gaps and hit it hard to cross that boundary line. Pakistan played their cards correctly which they seldom do.. SHould Aussies get to the final along with Pakistan, expect a much better contest because Aussies are never quitters. I believe that'll be a great game to watch. Im a Pak fan but every Pakistani loves the way Australian teams play. What a joy it really always is.. So im hoping that Pak somehow beats Sri Lanka and Aussies beat up WI and meet in the finals and yay! game on baby!!

  • Hassan Khan on October 2, 2012, 21:04 GMT

    It's baffling to see David Hussey not part of the Australian team. Time and again he has pulled them out of tight spots. Well... Australia's loss is Pakistan's gain. I'm hoping for an Aus-Pak final and praying for a Pakistan win... Still haven't forgotten what they did to us in 1999 world cup.

  • Kapil Batra on October 2, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    When Watson fails for Australia, is same when Kohli fails for India as of now.!!

    One more thing - In last two overs of the innings, I did not see any effort from Australia to score. Was it deliberate to try keeping India as far as possible once the defeat was certain!!!

  • danish mir on October 2, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    He (Watson) for sure is one man but one must admit though that he is one hell of a "one man". An outstanding batsman who can blast any bowler to any part of the park he wants, a more than good enough bowler who a captain can turn to when a wicket is needed and rarely do we see him disappointing and finally a brilliant fielder both close to the stumps and away at boundary too. Australia for sure have been carried this far in this tournament by the brilliance of this "one man" and today his rare failure , that only with bat, has shown how important a player he is for australians. On the issue of David Hussy , well i would definitely want him in the side.

  • Evans on October 2, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    Law of averages its quite simple, watson and warnewr was due to fail. Expect more pressure in the other game(s) for the top 3 as bailey, maxwell and co. cannot win a game for Australia. Its unfortunate if the Asussies wijn this cup since its not a team effort but a one man show.

  • inder on October 2, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    Australia is forgetting there are into semis not finals so first they have to tackle the Gayle Storm then we talk about Finals and Srilanka are no less than Pakistan

  • Saket on October 2, 2012, 16:35 GMT

    It does look like Watson and Hussey are carrying the team on their own. But that's why the semis are going to be interesting. Australia and Pakistan versus WI and SL in the other section...I want to see Aus versus WI and I think Pakistan have SL's number....

  • Farooq Tahir on October 2, 2012, 16:32 GMT

    Very true picture of the Aussies middle order represented here. Aussies has a great opening combination but their middle order is shaky. Pakistan today played like champions and on their day their day then can win against any side. Aussies has to cut their work out and bring David Hussey in. Looks like Pakistan is qualifying in the semis, and Aussies has to come against SL or PAK, the two best spinning sides at the moment :)

  • SAJIL on October 2, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    Aussies can still win the final if they meets Pakistan who will choke and go into shell as happened in the 1999 world cup final. Anyways, Aussies were too lucky to be there in the semi finals; without the brilliance of evergreen Hussy, they would not even reach 100 runs today.

  • Anonymous on October 2, 2012, 16:20 GMT

    It's very simple - Maxwell goes, Dave Hussey in. I think for the most part that Hogg has bowled well and been a little unfortunate. True, he hasn't taken as many wickets as we'd have liked, and he's probably gone for a few more runs also, but he's looked threatening at times - which is more than you can say for Maxwell who has done more damage than good...especially with his butter fingers today. He needs to tone down his ego and concentrate more on performing half decently before shooting his mouth off...

  • Saddique Ahmed on October 2, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Very interesting comments Jarrod. Problem with the T20 is that most team are very good but the momentum can swing within couple of overs, the onslaught of Umar Gul is a good proof. The mouth watering match today lived up to its expectation. What ever the end results are Pakistan can lift their heads high from now on.

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  • Saddique Ahmed on October 2, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Very interesting comments Jarrod. Problem with the T20 is that most team are very good but the momentum can swing within couple of overs, the onslaught of Umar Gul is a good proof. The mouth watering match today lived up to its expectation. What ever the end results are Pakistan can lift their heads high from now on.

  • Anonymous on October 2, 2012, 16:20 GMT

    It's very simple - Maxwell goes, Dave Hussey in. I think for the most part that Hogg has bowled well and been a little unfortunate. True, he hasn't taken as many wickets as we'd have liked, and he's probably gone for a few more runs also, but he's looked threatening at times - which is more than you can say for Maxwell who has done more damage than good...especially with his butter fingers today. He needs to tone down his ego and concentrate more on performing half decently before shooting his mouth off...

  • SAJIL on October 2, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    Aussies can still win the final if they meets Pakistan who will choke and go into shell as happened in the 1999 world cup final. Anyways, Aussies were too lucky to be there in the semi finals; without the brilliance of evergreen Hussy, they would not even reach 100 runs today.

  • Farooq Tahir on October 2, 2012, 16:32 GMT

    Very true picture of the Aussies middle order represented here. Aussies has a great opening combination but their middle order is shaky. Pakistan today played like champions and on their day their day then can win against any side. Aussies has to cut their work out and bring David Hussey in. Looks like Pakistan is qualifying in the semis, and Aussies has to come against SL or PAK, the two best spinning sides at the moment :)

  • Saket on October 2, 2012, 16:35 GMT

    It does look like Watson and Hussey are carrying the team on their own. But that's why the semis are going to be interesting. Australia and Pakistan versus WI and SL in the other section...I want to see Aus versus WI and I think Pakistan have SL's number....

  • inder on October 2, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    Australia is forgetting there are into semis not finals so first they have to tackle the Gayle Storm then we talk about Finals and Srilanka are no less than Pakistan

  • Evans on October 2, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    Law of averages its quite simple, watson and warnewr was due to fail. Expect more pressure in the other game(s) for the top 3 as bailey, maxwell and co. cannot win a game for Australia. Its unfortunate if the Asussies wijn this cup since its not a team effort but a one man show.

  • danish mir on October 2, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    He (Watson) for sure is one man but one must admit though that he is one hell of a "one man". An outstanding batsman who can blast any bowler to any part of the park he wants, a more than good enough bowler who a captain can turn to when a wicket is needed and rarely do we see him disappointing and finally a brilliant fielder both close to the stumps and away at boundary too. Australia for sure have been carried this far in this tournament by the brilliance of this "one man" and today his rare failure , that only with bat, has shown how important a player he is for australians. On the issue of David Hussy , well i would definitely want him in the side.

  • Kapil Batra on October 2, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    When Watson fails for Australia, is same when Kohli fails for India as of now.!!

    One more thing - In last two overs of the innings, I did not see any effort from Australia to score. Was it deliberate to try keeping India as far as possible once the defeat was certain!!!

  • Hassan Khan on October 2, 2012, 21:04 GMT

    It's baffling to see David Hussey not part of the Australian team. Time and again he has pulled them out of tight spots. Well... Australia's loss is Pakistan's gain. I'm hoping for an Aus-Pak final and praying for a Pakistan win... Still haven't forgotten what they did to us in 1999 world cup.