Pakistan v Australia 2010 July 4, 2010

Pakistan prepare to face their nemesis


Australia are back to haunt Pakistan. In the last twelve months Pakistan's record against this opponent has been abysmal. It started with the two-wicket defeat in the Champions Trophy in South Africa last September and continued in the series whitewash down under, where Pakistan failed to notch even a single win.

Then in the World Twenty20 Australia knocked off Pakistan's challenge easily in the league stage and in the semi-finals Michael Hussey launched a freakish last-minute assault that turned out to be one of the best Twenty20 innings of all time.

Hussey whipped 38 runs off the final 10 deliveries, including 22 off Saeed Ajmal's first four in the final over, to inflict a defeat that will have left psychological scars. Ajmal admitted later feeling utterly helpless amid the onslaught. Hence it is easy to predict that Pakistan would like to settle the score over the next two evenings when the two sides meet in the twin Twenty20s at Edgbaston - the first part of Pakistan's home series against Australia, being played on neutral soil.

Emotions aside, Pakistan are well aware Australia don't dwell too much on the past, instead their quest for being the best is a never-ending work-in-progress. Their commanding wins in the final two games of the NatWest Series against England give them the edge. Shaun Tait won't be shy of slinging down more 100mph deliveries and his battle with Shoaib Akhtar, the only other man in this generation to have achieved the same feat twice, would be the marquee contest of the match.

But Shahid Afridi needs to temper his most senior fast bowler lest Akhtar take the speed race seriously. If Akthar, who still has a big heart - the biggest weapon for a fast bowler - can keep his mind and body intact, it could turn out to be a scintillating affair and even offset the batting dominance that Australia have over their opponents.

The recovery of Umar Gul from a shoulder injury picked up in March has only bolstered the Pakistan bowling department, which also has the talented left-armer Mohammed Aamer, who collected a five-for in the tour's first warm-up match in Kent last week. "For the last 50 years our bowling has been our main weapon and that won't change," Afridi said.

At the same time Afridi is not bothered by the mood swings in the batting department, which comprises the aggressive Akmal brothers - Kamran and Umar - along with the experience of Shoaib Malik, Afridi and Abdul Razzaq. But their unpredictability is never in question. "We have the talent and I'm sure the youngsters will come good soon," Afridi said.

Umar Akmal proved why he could be Pakistan's most important batsman this summer when he led Pakistan's fightback from 53 for 3 to record 153 and put them out of danger against Kent; Shahzaib Hasan started the tour with a half-century in the Twenty20 exhibition match against MCC, fell short of another fifty against Essex on Friday but got it on Saturday against Northamptonshire. Shoaib Malik has shown enough promise to indicate he can still be dangerous if he puts his mind to it and avoids the rush-of-blood moments he can fall prey to. As for Afridi, there is no method or formula but hope always lurks around.

Still, to face Dirk Nannes, the best bowler in the World Twenty20, Mitchell Johnson, who is returning from injury but should still be a handful, and the fiery Tait would test the best of nerves and Pakistan will have to do it two nights in a row. Afridi remains stubborn. "It is a big pressure game against Australia but we have always given them a tough time. The way we've been playing, I have enough belief to defeat Australia. Even they are aware that we have given them some difficult times." The facts reveal the opposite.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2010, 18:11 GMT

    U.Akmal done a great job..All is now on bowlers.

  • Yoniv on July 5, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    @ Malepas.....I agree............Go Pakistan Go......Thrash the Aussies..............but always loose to India.........

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2010, 15:01 GMT

    Its important for Pakistan to BELIEVE that they can beat Ausies which was missing during their recent games. With the kind of young talent Pakistan have its them who have to start favourites in the shortes format since it suits there style much better than that of Aussies. Pakistan don't lose game in the dressing room itself. Play hard u can emerge triumphant. We wish you all the best.

  • TARIQ on July 5, 2010, 14:32 GMT

    To all Indians, we love the fact that we always play hard and fast when we play each other, I can understand your support to Indian team and bashing Pak cricket but comn guys,, this is Aussies we talking about,, and we need all your support to back this Pak team to win,, not the best batting side as India is blessed with but not a bad bowling side you will admit... so common'''stop the bashing mud slingging match and support the Asian team as I always do when India plays with Aus.

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    and as far as the batting is concerned the type of form in which salman butt & umar akmal & afridi are in its trully amazing to say the least be it akmals 150 and 50's in the warmup games be it afridi's 43 of 13 balls in the last warmup game or be it afridi's century's in asia cup. pakistan's batting too looks solid . i would disagree with the guy below saying that pakistan has the worst batting in the world ... at this moment in time pakistan's batting as well as bowling is byfar at its peak in the last 5 years or so . if pakistan dont win now i doubt they will later. to end my rant ;) id say with a leader like afridi pakistan should win

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2010, 14:20 GMT


    im a pakistani and i agree with you ;) lol but i agree many people tend to say things like "we will own them " and stuff but you have to be realistic and as realistic as i am i think this perhaps is THE BEST chance pakistan will have to beat the ausies and break that mental block that ausies are something out of this world . the one thing that ausies have (and pakistan lack) is consistency even when they were down and out . hussey as always showed consistency and class and won them the match. the pluses i see for pakistan here is that shahid afridi or better known as boom boom afridi is in the best form he has perhaps been in ever since his carreer started .highest run getter along with 2 centuries in a total of 3 matches is nothing you shouldnt be proud off. with akhtar in "good" rhythm and the likes of amir and gul and ajmal and afridi himself make the bowling one of the most deadly attacks in the world .

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2010, 14:18 GMT

    @hummi U r just a sore loser jealous of India's' success. Dont worry coz pak r gonna get whipped 6-0 in test against both eng and Aus. just learn how to cope with it.

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2010, 14:15 GMT

    i think Pak Batters r not united when they bat against Ausie,they try to secure their place 4r next game hence they lose against ausie,the team who r always united & play like one unit.

  • Dr Athar on July 5, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    "But their unpredictability is never in question." ..... CAN WE STOP SAYING THE TEAM IS UNPREDICTABLE? Open the STATSGURU fo T20 in cricinfo and check the predictable winning of this team, when in worldcups and when outisde. This team has a win loss ratio of 2.18, meaning it wins roughly 2 out of 3 matches all the time, what else we want? While India (the IPL GREATS) have a win loss ratio of 1.27, roughly losing every other match. WE ARE PLAYING EVERY MATCH ON AWAY GROUNDS, WHILE EVERYONE PLAYS A MIX OF HOME AND AWAY. A HUUUUUGE FACTOR!!!! When Brazil can lose in football worldcup, How is pakistan expected to win every match and every thing?????????????????? What do we want from this team before we call it predictable in winning ?.

  • Jawwad on July 5, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    ICC needs to unemployf biased writers like Nagraj Gollapudi. What tonic have you been drinking that you did not notice for the last 12 months the only team, though did not win a single game, gave Australia the toughest time? Even Aussies are aware of it and whether you are in denial or simply do not recognize the team combination Pakistan has been experimeting is going to come out lethal to the core and potent to the bone. You do not know Aussies study the Pak team the most?

  • No featured comments at the moment.