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Australia v Zimbabwe, Group B, ICC World Twenty20
Ian Chappell: Australia were complacent
September 12, 2007
Ian Chappell looks back on Day 2 of the ICC World Twenty20
 
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Ian Chappell: "Brendan Taylor played a thoughtful and skillful knock" © Getty Images

Akhila Ranganna: Day two of the ICC World Twenty20 saw a dramatic upset with Zimbabwe beating Australia. To look back on this game as well as well as the rest of the action I am joined by Ian Chappell.

A great win for Zimbabwe and they totally outplayed Australia in all departments of the game, wouldn't you agree?

Ian Chappell: Yes and it brings back memories of Zimbabwe's maiden one-day international in 1983 when they faced Australia in a World Cup match and beat them. Well, in their first Twenty20 game in a World Cup, they've toppled Australia once again. It was an exciting game and certainly the way Zimbabwe started in the field was a lesson to all the teams. You think back to last night at the Wanderers where West Indies made a mess of the high catches - Zimbabwe were faultless in the field. They followed that up with some thoughtful batting.

We saw a very different sort of an exciting encounter today. Last night was a high-scoring, exciting encounter at the Wanderers but this one was much more of a battle for runs, the pitch was a little slow but Zimbabwe outplayed and out-thought the Australians in the end to pull off a magnificent victory. This really throws this group wide open now.

AR: Ricky Ponting said in the post-match discussion that it was the top order that let Australia down. What do you think let the Australians down? Was it perhaps rustiness, coming back after a long break?

IC: The Australians don't come to a tournament under-prepared and rusty. They had a camp prior to this tournament where they played some Twenty20 cricket. They struggled a bit with the slowness of the pitch here; they played some practice games in Johannesburg where the weather was warmer and the pitches were probably harder and they just didn't make the adjustment. But all credit to the Zimbabwe bowlers - they adapted to the conditions very well, probably a bit similar to what they get back in Zimbabwe and the medium-pacers utilised the conditions very sensibly. They were backed by some brilliant catching and once they got those early wickets they began to believe in themselves. They had a lot of support here at Newlands, which just got greater as their chances of winning went up.

AR: Do you think the Australians were a bit complacent?

IC: I think the Australians were more complacent than rusty. They had some practice matches when they came on the tour, and this Australian team always comes to a tournament well prepared. But yes, as you said, I think they were a little complacent. I think there was a feeling of 'all we have got to do is turn up and we will beat Zimbabwe' and I think this was what Ponting was alluding to when he said that his players needed to respect the game a little and I think that the Australian team was in for a tongue-lashing from Ponting after the game.

AR: The hero for Zimbabwe was Brendan Taylor - a wonderful all-round performance from him. Your thoughts on him?

IC: Taylor had a night to remember. He did everything right with the gloves, particularly his stumping of Andrew Symonds because he had to get the timing absolutely right when he took the bails off. When he came out to bat I thought he had decided, or someone had taken the decision for him, that he needed to anchor the innings and it was up to the other players to play the extravagant shots early on. When he received the Man-of-the-Match award he said he thought Vusi Sibanda had helped him a lot by hitting the boundaries early on.

Once he spent some time in the middle I thought he played very sensibly The crucial over - and I think it will be one that Ponting would like to have a rethink on - was when he decided to give Brad Hodge a second over and Taylor got a couple of big sixes. I thought when Taylor came out to bat after the rain delay he played very thoughtfully and skilfully. His parents were there to watch him - I believe they watch every game he plays - and I think this is one that they will treasure for a long time.

I think Australia were a little complacent. I think there was a feeling of 'all we have got to do is turn up and we will beat Zimbabwe' and I think this was what Ponting was alluding to when he said that his players needed to respect the game a little

AR: Two crucial games coming up - Zimbabwe against England and England against Australia - how do you see them panning out?

IC: I think England will need to watch out when Australia play them because they'll be wounded. On a minor scale it'll be like when Australia lost the Ashes in 2005. Everybody saw how hard they hit back in the last Ashes series in Australia. That's the way Australia will be approaching their next game. Zimbabwe against England can go one of two ways. Zimbabwe are on a high after this win against Australia. It's a matter of whether they can keep this momentum going. They're going to be buzzing. It's going to be hard for them to sleep. They have an afternoon game ... they might come out a bit flat. If Australia had thrashed Zimbabwe then England might have gone into their game against Zimbabwe a bit complacent. There's no way that's going to happen now. England will be aware of Zimbabwe's victory. Especially with Paul Collingwood as captain - he's a hard, grafting player. He'll make sure his team is well and truly ready for Zimbabwe, knowing that an England win will make life well and truly difficult for Australia. I fancy Zimbabwe might find England a very tough game.

AR: A quick word on the Scotland-Pakistan clash - though Pakistan won, Scotland did put up a brave fight.

IC: Scotland were brave but after all the drama in the World Cup, Pakistan weren't going to make the same mistakes they made against Ireland in the World Cup. They were ready for Scotland in every way. The fact that it was Geoff Lawson's first game as coach of Pakistan would have played a part. As coach he wouldn't have wanted his first game to go badly.

AR: A word on Shahid Afridi's performance - do you think there's a case for him to bat higher up the order?

IC: I think Afridi's the sort of player who is very adaptable. If he's needed in the middle order to hit some quick runs he can do that. If Pakistan are chasing a big total they might promote him to the top of the order where he can open and get them off to a quick start. It doesn't seem to faze Afridi at all. He seems to be able to cope with either role. Especially since Abdul Razzaq is out of the side a lot more responsibility falls on Afridi. If Pakistan are to go a long way in this tournament Afridi has to have more days like he did against Scotland.

AR: We saw two contrasting games today - the New Zealand-Kenya game which was a one-sided affair and then the shocking upset in the Australia-Zimbabwe game. Do you think this compressed format supports the lesser-fancied nations since the disparity in skill levels with the stronger teams is less, or do you think this doesn't hold true?

IC: I believe that the shorter the game, more the limitations of a player are exposed. You're going to get upsets. We saw a couple of upsets in the World Cup in the 50-over game. That's always going to happen. It'll happen in a limited-overs game because you only need to have a short period where you're off your game and you can end up losing. Therefore I'm not a subscriber to the theory that there are going to be more upsets in Twenty20 cricket than in other forms. That's the fascinating thing about the game. On the odd day a minnow will come up and beat the fancied team. But don't expect that to happen a lot in Twenty20 cricket because in the end the better cricketers will prevail.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is a a columnist


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