Pakistan v Australia, Twenty20, Edgbaston

Twenty20s a chance to gain the edge

The Preview by Brydon Coverdale

July 4, 2010

Comments: 89 | Text size: A | A

Shaun Tait flew into England's top-order batting, England v Australia, 5th ODI, Lord's, July 3, 2010
Will Shaun Tait's ferocious pace inspire Shoaib Akhtar to get back to his fiery best? © Getty Images
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Match facts
Monday, July 5 and Tuesday, July 6, Edgbaston
Start time 1700 (1600 GMT)

The Big Picture
Pakistan and Australia will spend the next month battling in the neutral territory of England and this Twenty20 at Edgbaston gives the teams their first glimpse at the opposition. Little is riding on the two-game Twenty20 series, given that it comes barely six weeks after the World Twenty20. But a one-sided contest to either team could provide a morale boost ahead of the two Tests later this month. Australia are coming off a lost ODI series, although they won the final two games, while Pakistan failed in the Asia Cup but also finished on a high when they thrashed Bangladesh.

Any team captained by Shahid Afridi and featuring Shoaib Akhtar cannot fail to fascinate. Akhtar might not have been at his fittest during the Asia Cup, but will the sight of Shaun Tait pressing 160kph spark him back towards his high-speed best? And will Afridi, who led Pakistan to the World Twenty20 semi-finals, find a way to end Pakistan's losing streak of 12 matches against Australia across all formats?

The last time the teams met, it was a high-class encounter that brought nearly 400 runs and one of the most memorable finishes in the format's short history, as Michael Hussey drove Australia into the World Twenty20 final. They needed 18 from the last over; Hussey did it with a ball to spare. There's far less to play for this time, but the result is no doubt burned into the memories of the Pakistan players. Here's their right of reply.

Form guide (Most recent first)
Australia LWWWW

Pakistan LWLLL

Watch out for
It's been all about Shaun Tait over the past week, but he'll be joined in a fierce new-ball attack in Birmingham by Dirk Nannes. There hasn't been a place in Australia's one-day line-up for Nannes, so he's fresh after playing only Twenty20s for Nottinghamshire lately. His left-arm angle and speed always creates headaches and if the batsmen try to see Tait off and attack at the other end, it could spell success for Nannes.

Umar Akmal's career is still in its infancy, but already he has the respect of the Australian bowlers. One-third of his international matches have been played against Australia and his ability to score quickly makes him especially dangerous in Twenty20s. The last time he met Michael Clarke's men, he blasted an unbeaten 56 from 35 balls in the World Twenty20 semi-final.

Team news
The loss of Ryan Harris to a knee injury leaves Australia with 13 fit men in their squad, although that's perhaps not the best way to describe the captain Michael Clarke. He missed the final ODI against England on Saturday with a sore back and although he will probably play on Monday, it's not locked in yet, and his deputy Cameron White will be waiting for word on whether he will have to step up. The more likely scenario is James Hopes and Steve O'Keefe will sit out and the only change from the World Twenty20 final will be Tim Paine in for Brad Haddin.

Australia (possible) 1 Shane Watson, 2 David Warner, 3 Michael Clarke (capt), 4 David Hussey, 5 Cameron White, 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Tim Paine (wk), 8 Steve Smith, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Dirk Nannes, 11 Shaun Tait.

Pakistan's batting order is something of a mystery, but expect Shahzaib Hasan to open up with Salman Butt. Umar Gul should make his return from a shoulder injury that has kept him out of international action since Pakistan played England in Dubai in February.

Pakistan (possible) 1 Salman Butt, 2 Shahzaib Hasan, 3 Shoaib Malik, 4 Umar Akmal, 5 Shahid Afridi, 6 Kamran Akmal (wk), 7 Abdur Razzaq, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Shoaib Akhtar, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Mohammad Aamer.

Pitch and conditions
The Edgbaston pitch might offer some turn, which would theoretically favour Pakistan, but there have been some good totals produced in the domestic Twenty20 there this year. If it's humid - which is a distinct possibility - the ball could swing, which would make Tait, Nannes, Akhtar and Gul very dangerous.

Stats

  • Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi are the two leading wicket takers in Twenty20 internationals; Australia's first entry on the worldwide list is Mitchell Johnson at number eight
  • Australia's top two run scorers in Twenty20s are David Warner and David Hussey, neither of whom currently play for their country in any other format
  • The teams have met in five Twenty20s; Pakistan won the first two and Australia have won the past three

    Quotes
    "We smashed them in Australia and Mike Hussey did an amazing job in that last Twenty20 game we played against them."
    Mitchell Johnson hopes Australia can carry on their recent stranglehold on Pakistan across all formats

    "The way we've been playing and with our combination I have enough belief to defeat Australia. Even they are aware that we have given them some difficult times"
    Shahid Afridi remains typically belligerent ahead of a challenging series

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

RSS Feeds: Brydon Coverdale

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by FIPL on (July 6, 2010, 9:50 GMT)

@ Chandruuuu Seeeeeeeeeeekhar: how many bad peformances you have seen from Murli & Ajmal against Autralia. you can count them on fingure tips but how many good performances they have i think you will be short of pan and paper i you start wrting.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2010, 6:01 GMT)

i am happy pakistani team is win the match

Posted by dilchasp on (July 5, 2010, 16:56 GMT)

@Saud Yaseen Khan. Thanks for correction. Of course Pak played against Aus in T20 worldcup not in Asia cup @MyComments: You are absolutely right, last T20 worldcup, Pakistan was without Malik and Umar gul. Malik we know is not performing consistently for last couple of years, but don't forget He is an excellent fielder. You also need to perform as a fielder too in T20 to stop the runs and get catches. At the moment only Afridi and Malik are the good fielders. Umar Gul is the world's most successful bowler in T20I. Pakistan is a complete cricket team at the moment with all the stars in it. It is flat IMPOSSIBLE for Australia to beat Pakistan today, unless a natural disaster happens (Mike Hussey innings against pak in T20I semifinal). Good luck for Pakistan!!! Bring back the joy of wining to the fellow countrymen!!

Posted by   on (July 5, 2010, 16:51 GMT)

pakistan can win this game but will be psychology under pressure. Aus have best squad in this match...

Posted by   on (July 5, 2010, 16:44 GMT)

I really dont know why pakistan coach dont want Imran Nazir , its much better to give him a chance to play in T20 , as i know he is better than Imran farhat , but still they get Imran farhat to play in WT20 .....

Posted by carnage2 on (July 5, 2010, 16:42 GMT)

Pakistan will lose by the grace of Almighty Allah. Pakistan to lose , what? 13th consecutive game against Aussies?

Posted by   on (July 5, 2010, 16:30 GMT)

@ jambojet :u,re a practical joke just like ur team,aus can't play murali,go check stats murali who was economical against all teams was thrashed for 99 runs(top 5 in an 10 overs) and u know more about the thrasing of ajmal(wct20 semis) and still pak need to win an international against aus(last 12 or so).and if u don't know aus banned dusra even in their first class cricket,know the facts before a comment. Aussie,Aussie. go go go go go go

Posted by Naj_Pak on (July 5, 2010, 16:25 GMT)

It will be a sensational contest b/w Shoaib & Shaun tait

Posted by dr.jha on (July 5, 2010, 16:03 GMT)

@ali imran... of course you do mate... pakistan has always been famous for producing the raw untamed talent...( sometimes selfdestructive yes).. but most of the times... they are an asset to cricket... its a special game... the number of legends you've given to cricket is great...wasim... waqar.. saqlain.. imran.. javed... hanif.. sarfaraz... saeed anwar.. mushtaq... oh the list goes on... all that pakistan ever needed was a direction .. a guiding hand... which i am not sure shahid has it in him... he may prove me wrong.. and i'll be happy if he does so..but its a long way ahead...

Posted by   on (July 5, 2010, 15:54 GMT)

Pakistan is a winner lagay raho pakistan Pakistan Zindabad

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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