Australia v Pakistan, Super Eights, World Twenty20, Colombo October 1, 2012

Pakistan at the precipice


Match facts

October 2, 2012
Start time 1530 local (1000 GMT)

Big Picture

One poor showing, against India no less, has suddenly thrown Pakistan's World Twenty20 campaign onto far less certain ground than it had occupied solidly since day one of the tournament. Another loss to Australia, the competition's most assured and dominant team so far, and the Pakistanis will be highly unlikely to make the semi-finals. It is a harsh scenario, but a reflection of the competition's format, calling for consistent results. The hesitance and doubt evident against India must quickly be shed from the minds and limbs of Pakistan's cricketers, but the looming possibility of elimination may not aid the return of a state of focus.

By contrast, Australia know they do not even need to win to progress, for they will qualify for the semi-finals unless Pakistan can inflict the sort of thrashing George Bailey's men have commonly dealt out so for, and a similar margin unfolds in India's match against South Africa. So far led with exceptional poise and power by the irrepressible Shane Watson, the Australians have not had their depth of batting tested. Nevertheless, the likes of Michael Hussey and Cameron White have shown decent touch in their brief stays at the crease, and the confidence of all players has benefited from Watson's show of strength.

These two sides are very familiar with one another, having contested T20 and ODI series in the UAE as a prelude to this event. Australia began that T20 series floundering, and ended it with growing confidence. They have gone up another notch or three since, while Pakistan have been shaken by the India defeat. Mohammad Hafeez's team will hope to regain the confidence they showed in Dubai, or risk elimination from an event they looked in with a chance to win a few days ago.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)
Australia WWWWW
Pakistan LWWWL

Watch out for

The outstanding display by Xavier Doherty on his recall to the team has placed some pressure on Brad Hogg for his spot in the XI, should Australia wish to revert back to a one spinner policy against teams better versed at slow bowling than South Africa. Hogg has bowled tidily enough during the tournament, and offered plenty of energy in the field. But he has only two victims at a cost of 53.50 so far, and will need to provide a greater impact on the wickets column as the tournament reaches its pointy end.

Plenty of chatter has surrounded Mohammad Hafeez's surprisingly halting display with the bat and in the field against India. While there is some understanding at the occasion getting the better of Hafeez and his team, Pakistan's captain must show greater steel against Australia in order to push his team to the next phase. Hafeez should be helped by a return to the top of the bowling attack, for his spin has troubled David Warner in the past.

Team news

Pakistan can either make changes in reaction to the heavy defeat against India or keep faith with the XI that had previously looked so poised at this event.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Mohammad Hafeez (capt), 2 Imran Nazir, 3 Nasir Jamshed, 4 Kamran Akmal (wk), 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Yasir Arafat, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Raza Hasan

Xavier Doherty will be very difficult to drop from Australia's XI following his exceptional 3 for 20 against South Africa.

Australia (probable): 1 David Warner, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Mike Hussey, 4 Cameron White, 5 George Bailey (capt), 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Brad Hogg, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Xavier Doherty

Pitch and conditions

As expected, the Premadasa Stadium surface is growing more sluggish and spin friendly with each passing match. It will not be too far removed from the Dubai surface on which Australia and Pakistan last met.

Stats and trivia

  • A win for Australia would equal their longest winning streak in T20Is, a span of six matches at the 2010 World T20 in the Caribbean
  • Defeat for Pakistan would have them miss the semi-finals of the World T20 for the first time. They were finalists in 2007, winners in 2009 and beaten semi-finalists in 2010


"Things are just falling my way at the moment, I suppose. Things can turn and your form can go against you so you've got to make the most of it while you can."
Shane Watson hopes he won't have to wake up soon.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Scott on October 2, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Brilliant bolwing by Pakistan today. Completely tied the Australian top order up. Some pretty ordinary sweep shots offered from the first 3 to go, but those shots were required because of the pressure exerted by Pakistan's excellent dsiplay. Very well played! I wouldn't be surprised if this result is enough for Pakistan to qualify. For Australia, firstly Maxwell needs to be dropped from the team. His horror show miss at first slip today was just the first of many mistakes and at the time of this clanger, Pakistan would have been reeling with 2 wickets taken in their 2nd over with only a few runs on the board. Very costly and inexcusable. Nonetheless, 150 is around a par score for that wicket and the batting display was very poor. None of the lads were timing anything, not even the bad balls. I realised we were in trouble when the leg side full toss to Watson not only didn't get dispatched, it didn't even bring up a single! Luckily for Australia, we get another shot at it in the semi's.

  • Cricket on October 2, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    Aus 15/1 in 3.4 ovrs. . .. . Great breakthrough provided by Raza Hasan. Watson b raza 8(14).

  • Cricket on October 2, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    Pakistan have given Australia a target of 150. Looking at the form of watson & hussey it may not be sufficient. But if they get the oppeners early & the spinners get in to act, things can be different.

  • Cricket on October 2, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    in 15.1 ovrs pak 103/4. back to back wickets. Jamshed and Kamran gone in a space of 3 delivers. two brand new batsmen on the crease for last 5 ovrs. Nothing could go more wrong for Pakistan.

  • Cricket on October 2, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    Pakistanis are too tentative. Australia will play freely , especially if Watson & Warner play freely and get going then they could finish the game in 15 ovrs. Instead of Pakistan winning by big margin, it looks that Pakistan will loose by a big margin.

  • Cricket on October 2, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    After 9 ovrs. Pak - 49/2. Australias place in the semis is almost confirmed. Becuase now practically Australia cannot loose by a big Margin. though mathematically it will be confirmed after a while. Looks like Imran Nazir has played his last game. Hafeez has captained his last game. Gul also has to prove himself quickly.

  • Dummy4 on October 2, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    Hafeez, this is ruthless world. You are as good as your last mistake. Pack it up. You have no place in the team if you loose today.

  • Harsh on October 2, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Being an indian fan obviously want aussies to win but i wish aus and pak best of luck they are both good teams and deserve a semi final spot as much as india do. It is only because of the unfair grouping that ind, aus, pak and sa cant go through.

  • Dummy4 on October 2, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Though I support Australia, I wish either Pak or India to win the cup. But unfortunately both teams lack consistency and inspiration. I agree only Pak can beat Australia if they play today with their full potential. At the same time, I also wish India to beat SA so that both Pak and India enter semi-finals.

  • Asif on October 2, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    Asad Shfique is the most complete batsman in current Pakistan squad but he is not playing amazing

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