Australia v Pakistan, World T20, Group 2, Mirpur March 23, 2014

'Our fielding was shoddy' - Bailey


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Bailey looks at bigger picture after defeat

Australia's fielders don't normally dive over the ball or react late to hard-hit shots. Against Pakistan, they did both, frequently, in a below-par fielding effort that eventually had some influence on the match result.

The Akmal brothers pushed Pakistan's run rate between the start of the eighth over and the end of the 13th, adding 81 runs in 36 balls. They were helped during this period by Australia's fielders.

Brad Hogg dropped Umar Akmal on 22, a chance he should have taken at deep square-leg. In the next over from the same end, Doug Bollinger dropped a sitter at short fine-leg and though it was a no-ball from Shane Watson, it said much about their fielding. Towards the end of the innings too, Brad Hodge dropped Shahid Afridi at point and though it was going over his head, the timing of the jump could have done the job.

The Australian bowlers started and ended quite well, keeping the Pakistan top order quiet for the first seven overs, and keeping a check on Shahid Afridi to ensure the score didn't go past the 200 mark. Pakistan collected just two sixes in the last five overs. But their cricket in between was shoddy.

Apart from the two legitimate chances, the Australian fielders regularly moved late, which was quite unusual, considering their usual levels. What also caught the eye was the number of times balls went under fielders and the times the infielders let the ball go past them, beckoning the outfielders to cut it off. Though these small mistakes usually go unnoticed, it was clear they didn't sit well with their captain George Bailey, who said the fielding was far worse than his bowlers' efforts.

"The fielding was shoddy for the standard that we set ourselves," Bailey said. "It was something that we spoke about, that we thought in this tournament could be a point of difference. It's something we've done very well in the last few games, and it just wasn't to the standard that we set ourselves.

"I am not as disappointed with the bowling as the fielding. I wasn't too disappointed with the bowling. There is always things you can improve, but I think they were two for 40-odd after about seven [overs], which was a really good start for us. Certainly [there are] things to improve on, but [I am] not too disappointed."

Australia did struggle against spin, as was the talk in the lead-up to this game. Pakistan left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar made immediate impact by dismissing David Warner and Shane Watson in the first over while Afridi and Saeed Ajmal timed their best overs almost to perfection. Ajmal's last over, the 18th over of Australia's innings, went for just one run.

Bailey said the third-wicket partnership between Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell, which took Australia from 8 for 2 to the comfort of 126 for 3, should have been capitalised on by the batsmen who followed them to the crease. But the captain himself had a hard time handling the spinners.

"It was just a shift in momentum," Bailey said. "I certainly found it pretty hard to get going, whether to take that risk and knowing they had probably, as most teams do, five or six overs from their best bowlers left; Afridi, Ajmal and Gul all bowled really well.

"I think to get ourselves into a position where we needed 70 off 60 shows a lot of promise. Two outstanding innings from [Maxwell and Finch], so that's really good for us, but absolutely, from there, you'd like to think that you can finish it off."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nasser on March 26, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    Both sides displayed shoddy fielding; true! But from Pakistan it is expected; from Australia it is not. The Australians panicked only because they, like any one else, including the Pakistan fans, did not know what to expect from a side which is rubbish one day and excellent another; there is hardly ever a half-way house with them.

  • Dummy on March 25, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    Both teams did mistakes of dropping catches its sound both side fielding was shoddy same amount of catches and runs blunders done by both sides match was equal in 10th over even that time its look like in aussies hand but great come back of Pakistan bowlers in last eight overs and aussies batting failure in that period cost Australia lose that match

  • Scott on March 25, 2014, 9:18 GMT

    @Desihungama, you're emphasising my point! If Maxwell was the only player to get going, then he should take the responsibility on to lead us home. Scoring a quick fire 40 off 15 isn't enough if you're chasing 200. In T20, each and every one of your players needs to be able to assess the situation and take on the role of seeing us home. Maxwell appears incapable of this. Regardless of your 'role' in the side, you need to be able to adapt in T20 as undoubtedly your role will too dependent on conditions/scenarios. It's not about being the one player to do the job, in T20 it's about be the one player on that given day to do the job. We have numerous other guys who've done it previous games and won them on a lone hand (which is pretty normal in T20). Maxwell played a really great innings, but then left us in the lurch when he'd done all the hard work to get us there. Again, just once I'd like to see him take ownership and win a match for us. At 70 from 54, it was his chance to prove he can

  • ESPN on March 25, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    Maxwel got lucky that's all it was folks

  • Richard on March 24, 2014, 22:52 GMT

    George Bailey: Why did you bowl Hogg immediately after he dropped Akmal off Coulter-Nile? A captain is supposed to lift confidence, not destroy it. Your spinner should not be waiting to bowl until the 9th over at Mirpur. Pakistan opened the bowling with two spinners. Guess who they got? Warner and Watson. Hello??? Anyone listening??? Their spinners took 5 wickets, ours: None.

    How many times do we need to lose before the penny drops? Warner and Watson need to bat down the order because they have no idea getting started vs slow bowlers. Haddin to switch on or let Hodge 'keep wicket. White and Finch to open. George for the good of Australian cricket, either make some runs or stand aside son.

  • Adrian on March 24, 2014, 22:46 GMT

    Bailey made a couple of captaincy blunders - 1: Bowling Brad Hogg immediately after he dropped a vital catch - Hogg was clearly not focussed on bowling that over. 2: Bowling Finch - Maxwell is a vastly superior part timer to Finch. Yes, our fielding was pretty shoddy, but not any more so than the opposition. Our batting let us down with only two batsmen reaching double figures. I also find it hard to understand the lack of dissapointment in the bowling - Starc bowled 4 full tosses in his last over! Why was he bowling around the wicket??? I think it was Bailey failing to recognise and act on these big moments that cost us the match. I'm a huge Bailey fan, but very dissapointed at the moment.

  • Jawwad on March 24, 2014, 21:36 GMT

    @ScottStevo - That's bit too harsh on Maxwell. Every team member has a role to play and it should't be just one man's job as in case of most sub continental teams barring India. Maxwell did his job and did it well. Now, it was up to rest to see it through. They couldn't because no one after Maxi had the ability to play spin in your team and this is where you lost it coupled with Gul all of a sudden coming into his own. So, in the end, Pakistan utilized the conditions and won. Pak also adjusted their bowling lines during Aus innings break which ultimately became huge momentum breaker for them. Nonetheless a gripping contest that was! I can bet you many Australian and Pakistani fans turned their Tv's off thinking match was over after 10 overs when Aus was batting.

  • Jawwad on March 24, 2014, 21:24 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha - I think things started to take turn for Australia in the 11th over over and not after 12th as you suggest This tells me Pakistani bowlers conjured up plans during the innings break. They adjusted their line and lengths and thus were rewarded with priceless wickets of Maxwell and Finch at the boundary not via lbw or caught behinds. Afridi, Ajmal and Gul are match winning International bowlers and keep in mind the experience Afridi shares in dressing room from his 18 years of non stop cricket.

  • Scott on March 24, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    With 70 to get from 54 with 8 wickets in hand, Oz should've won that easily. Well played to Pakistan for turning it around. A pretty lucklustre display from Aus all round starting with their worst fielding performance I've seen in some time. In T20, if you field that poorly, you're going to get beaten. We gave ourselves a huge opportunity with the bat, but couldn't finish it off. As well as Maxwell played, he's always going to be a nearly man. For all of his "x factor" and "big show" - and whatever else he'd like to call himself - I can't recollect one time where Maxwell has won us a match, or seen us over the line. In T20, you'd expect your #4 to be a match winner and Maxwell just can't keep himself from the "hero" play, which inevitably leads to his downfall. It's hard to be too harsh on him in this instance, but just once I'd like to see him get into that position, take responsibility for the innings and win us a match - then I'll happily call him whatever he wants to be called!

  • Zee on March 24, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    TheBigBoodha - Pakistan weren't that good. LOL. If we play by your logic then Finch and Maxell were also dropped, so Pakistan should have won easily, which they did anyway. 191 score isn't that good? Fielding misses on both sides equalized, Pak won easily. In no way could Aussies have won this match.

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