Not over-dependent on Watson - Bailey
George Bailey, the Australia captain, does not think his team is over-dependent on Shane Watson, after the allrounder weighed in with bat and ball in both group-stage victories. Watson made 51 off 30 balls and took 3 for 26 against Ireland, and followed that with an unbeaten 41 and 2 for 29 against West Indies.
"I don't know whether you can call it over-dependence on Watson just because he has performed well in both the games," Bailey said. "He is a very good player, he is good with the ball and he is an outstanding batsman. He is one of the players that opposition teams fear when they run into him. At the moment, one of his strengths is his consistency, so he is dependable, but I am not sure if we are over-dependent on him."
Watson and David Warner, one of the most powerful opening combinations currently in limited-overs cricket, gave Australia solid starts in both games so far but Bailey said that did not mean the rest of the line-up was not capable. "Watson and Warner are able to provide us an urgent start. There is no doubt that they are key wickets because they can take the game away," Bailey said. "I guess they are crucial, but we are not at a stage where the rest of us are just making up the numbers."
Bailey was asked whether Watson and Warner's contributions meant the middle order was undercooked in terms of time spent in the middle. "The middle-order is very happy," he said. "I know it's a tough one now but you've just got to prepare and train well. It's not that any of these guys haven't played a lot. In fact, we have played a lot against the guys we are coming up against. Whenever you get the opportunity to perform, you make sure you are ready to go."
MS Dhoni, the India captain, was also asked about the Watson-Warner combine, and his side's plans to control the duo. "They are one of the best because they have done consistently well," Dhoni said. "Both of them play aggressive cricket and look to score as many runs as possible in the first six overs. Since we are looking to play with five bowlers there is a bit more variety up the sleeve, which can be used in the first six overs. So let's see how they start."
Dhoni said most international sides had aggressive openers in Twenty20s, which helped in getting good starts against the new ball. "If you can put pressure on the opposition bowler, then more often than not they look to save themselves, so if you have a good start, you have an upper hand," Dhoni said. "In the subcontinent also it is important, initially the ball comes on to the bat nicely, and from the eighth to the 12th over is the time when the game changes. We have seen that quite a few wickets slow down and stroke-play becomes a bit tough. It is important that the top four take advantage of the ball coming on to the bat."
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo