June 22, 2001

Stage is set for glorious NatWest Series final


The stage is set for the clash of the titans at Lord's tomorrow when Australia meet Pakistan in a re-run of the 1999 World Cup final.

With both teams in tremendous form - although Steve Waugh claims his side are still not firing on all cylinders - a sell-out crowd expected and even decent weather forecast, the prospects for a final to remember are excellent.

However, everyone was expecting an exciting game when the sides last met at Lord's, only for the match to result in a terribly one-sided affair as Australia won by eight wickets in 20 overs to lift the World Cup trophy.

But Pakistan coach Richard Pybus says that on this occasion, things will be very different.

"It will not be the World Cup final on Saturday but we have some bitter memories from 1999 and we played incredibly poorly in the final.

"That was not a reflection on the way we had performed in the tournament before that, when some of our cricket was outstanding.

"The Australians actually started off poorly in that competition and built momentum as it went on.

"But in the final we played so badly whereas the Australians just played normal cricket - and we have to re-address that on Saturday.

"As any coach will tell you, it's about performance on the day. If we play to our potential we can beat anybody. It's as simple as that."

Pakistan will claim that they already have the psychological advantage over Australia after beating them at Trent Bridge on Tuesday. Although Australia rested Glenn McGrath and Ricky Ponting for that game, Pakistan were without Inzamam-ul-Haq through illness.

Pybus said: "To beat Australia, like on Tuesday, is always sweet, although we know they will come back hard in the final at us."

But Australia skipper Steve Waugh said: "If Pakistan think they've got a psychological boost from Tuesday, then they're going to be mistaken.

"In that game we weren't with it from ball one. We were slipshod with our fielding and bowling and we had ourselves to blame for the loss.

"I know people say it didn't matter because both teams were in the final, but it still hurts to lose and we were disappointed to lose our unbeaten record against Pakistan.

"But it will be different on Saturday. We've got good memories. We played and won the World Cup final at Lord's and we'll be confident of winning again on Saturday."

If Australia are to win they must find a way of countering Waqar Younis who has suddenly struck an incredibly rich vein of form.

The Pakistan captain has taken 13 wickets in the last two games and Pybus said: "Waqar has bowled magnificently in this competition. A couple of years ago people were writing him off and he did not play in the World Cup final.

"Shoaib was in the pound seats then and bowling brilliantly - but anyone who ever doubted Waqar Younis has been answered handsomely. He bowled superbly in the Second Test and in this one-day competition.

"Now he wants to help Pakistan win this tournament especially after what happened in the World Cup final two years ago on the same ground."

Waqar said: "We have to play aggressive, positive cricket. If we put things together there's no reason why we can't beat Australia. Australia are playing good cricket and are very professional. But we are capable of beating any side in the world. We have the potential to beat them."

Pakistan expect to have a full-strength squad to choose from. Inzamam should be fit while Yousuf Youhana is expected to have recovered from the twisted ankle sustained at Trent Bridge.

Australia are keeping nothing under wraps in terms of selection; Shane Warne, Damien Martyn and Jason Gillespie will replace Andrew Symonds, Matthew Hayden and Damien Fleming from the side which trounced England at The Oval on Thursday.


Australia: Steve Waugh (capt), Mark Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Michael Bevan, Damien Martyn, Ian Harvey, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie and Glenn McGrath.

Pakistan (from): Waqar Younis (capt), Saeed Anwar, Salim Elahi, Fazl-e-Akbar, Shahid Afridi, Abdur Razzaq, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Yousuf Youhana, Younis Khan, Azhar Mahmood, Rashid Latif, Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaq.