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

  • zarasochozarasamjho 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.

  • 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

  • ScottStevo 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

  • on March 25, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    Maxwel got lucky that's all it was folks

  • Jagger 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.

  • Adoh 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.

  • Desihungama 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.

  • Desihungama 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.

  • ScottStevo 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!

  • BowledYa 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.

  • zarasochozarasamjho 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.

  • 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

  • ScottStevo 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

  • on March 25, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    Maxwel got lucky that's all it was folks

  • Jagger 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.

  • Adoh 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.

  • Desihungama 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.

  • Desihungama 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.

  • ScottStevo 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!

  • BowledYa 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.

  • on March 24, 2014, 13:36 GMT

    @thebigboodha....plz b relax....they wil follow ur instructions against india....lolxxxx.

  • TheBigBoodha on March 24, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    Jagger, Starc is no number 9? The guy is batting too low if anything. Averages 30 in tests, including a 99. He's a classy batsman!

    I wouldn't be reading too much into this game. This is the nature of T20 cricket. Pakistan weren't that good IMHO, and everything went their way to perfection. Still, they could easily have lost. If Maxwell hadn't hit that long hop to the fielder Pakistan were toast. The game would have been over by the 18 th. And really, it should have been. For Australia to lose they really had to have at least four top order bats fail. Any of Watson, Warner or Bailey could have taken the game on their day.

  • on March 24, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    So Australia talked up its chances of winning the World T20, only to lose their opening match. Anyone think having Mitchell Johnson in the side would have made any difference? Or maybe Michael Clarke?

  • Jagger on March 24, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    ccrider - you are wrong to criticise Maxwell. If anyone deserves criticism it should be Watson (Grrr), Hogg and Bailey for dropping the bottom lip and bowling Finch.

    Brad Haddin the player - you have regressed back to your old ways. Keeping has fallen right away - you don't appeal and let the ball go for four runs in this game. Batting - you are allowed to score on the off side. Your insistence to hit over cow corner with 4 fielders posted in the area and nothing posted on the off side boundary was baffling.

    Not much difference between the return on Bollinger and Starc yet the tail was too long. Picking those two fast bowlers was a foolish mistake when you have Christian sitting on the pine. Starc is no number 9.

  • on March 24, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    @cccrider Blaming Maxwell is ridiculous. If it wasn't for him they wouldn't have gotten close to the Pakistan score. He led the way and the momentum was with Australia when he departed.

  • cccrider on March 24, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    McVile - Any batsman worth his salt would have consolidated after a quick start and won the game. Not Maxwell. You can't be 'on' every night and have to make the most of opportunities. Maxwell absolutely threw the game away - and Boof would have been rightly furious. Stick to baseball with your misinformed comments.

  • Bong_Amit on March 24, 2014, 8:27 GMT

    Im surprised to see Ausies spin attacks. And more surprised to see Ausie still depending on Hogg, a 43 oldie. SAD

  • imtiazjaleel on March 24, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    i think Bailey did a mistake by not sending Brad Hodge before him, only Brad Hodge could have won the game for Australia at that stage. He is a fantastic cool finisher with power and precision.

  • bouncer709 on March 24, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    @PFEL: Pakistan returned the gift by droping Maxwell and Finch, so thanks but no thanks for the gift. @TheBigBoodha : First Maxwell was dropped, was he trying to take single or he was aggressive, then again he was caught on the boundary, and I don't think he was trying to take single there, Baily was also trying to hit Afridi for a boundary. David Warner hit four on the first ball, and was trying to repeat on the 2nd ball... Shane watson hit four, already 8 runs collected in first over and next ball wanted to send out of park....and B Hodgh...what do you think.. all they were defensive?

  • on March 24, 2014, 5:01 GMT

    @cccrider criticising maxwell for not going on with an innings after scoring 74 off 33 balls? He definitely did his job! Or maybe you didn't notice the other 9 batsmen that didn't reach double figures?

  • Desihungama on March 24, 2014, 2:14 GMT

    Whaddayaknow! There were two Akmals on the field.

  • cccrider on March 24, 2014, 1:49 GMT

    Maxwell doesn't go on with an innings. Proved it again and again.

  • TheBigBoodha on March 24, 2014, 0:52 GMT

    Bouncer709 Australia didn't lose any wickets during the so-called crazy period. But they lost heaps once they started bunting the ball around for singles after the 12 th over or so. That was the main strategic flaw of the innings. They should have remained consistently aggressive. Pakistan were being annihilated and humiliated. Then Australia put the brakes on. Very, very strange tactics indeed.

    Anyway, the fielding was terrible. The team really looked flat in the field. No cohesion. Maybe it will be a wake up call.

  • on March 23, 2014, 23:26 GMT

    Australia, SA, Eng, NZ do not have quality spinners and this is the reason it will be difficult for these teams to beat the sub-continent teams. This will become more evident as more games are placed. Pitches in Bangladesh are also not so favorable to medium pacers. Today Pak posted an above avg total and against the quality of ballers specially spinners that Pak has, was always going to be an uphill task. Over all an excellent game of t20.

  • PFEL on March 23, 2014, 20:29 GMT

    "Our fielding was shoddy" - lol understatement of the century right there. Pakistan didn't win this game, at all. Australia gift wrapped it for them.

  • pat_one_back on March 23, 2014, 20:24 GMT

    Credit to Pakistan for hanging in and tightening the screws, Aust were home and hosed midway through the chase. Some poor fielding on both sides but the most costly drop went to Aust whilst Pakistan held a difficult and important catch off Hodge to shut Aust out. Finch seemed to forget that his strength was strength itself, powerful regulation shots, he moved around far too much at the crease. A good anchor score but he wouldn't have lasted playing more than support to Maxwell who fell only an over or two short of stealing a win from the better side. Thankfully WI also went down last night so Aust still have a good opportunity to claw back from here, Watson must anchor though as one of the few Aussies who scores well against spin.

  • on March 23, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    Ausies lost because of the following five reasons 1. Inexperienced side played for them. 2. Not too much depth in their batting line up. 3. No batting plan against spinners especially the new comer Zulfiqar Babar who actually took the sting out of their batting by dismissing Warner and especially Watson. 4.They seemed to have no experienced bowlers either. 5. Because Pakistan was always going to win on the 23rd of March (Pakistan Day), hence do not be disappointed Aussies it was just that they had a bad day.

  • on March 23, 2014, 19:21 GMT

    Wow..Brad Hodge can get out...proves that he's just a human...The most underrated and destructive and intelligent t20 player ever in my book.

  • on March 23, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    i agree with u skiper

  • on March 23, 2014, 19:05 GMT

    I think they became complecent and lost momentum

  • on March 23, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    Run rate required was between 7 and 8 for awhile and that's when the Aussies needed to be calm and professional to see them through. There's plenty of experience in the lineup but today they weren't good enough. Fantastic effort by Maxwell. Aussies need to look at all their spin options because that seems vital to winning the tournament.

  • johnjo on March 23, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Still better than India who dropped 2 catches of C. Gayle - both were easy.

  • bouncer709 on March 23, 2014, 17:43 GMT

    I think Aus lost it coz of their craziness, they were just slogging and throwing bat at every ball, Maxwell innings was very good and very quick, but as said in the article Kamran Akmal and Umer Akmal from 8th to 12th over collected 72 runs from 30 balls, this phase of Pakistan innings had high strike rate than Maxwell (74 from 33) ... but they did it quietly.... while Maxwell was playing in a way that every ball we were expecting his wkt to come, he was also dropped, but when got out Pakistan was again in the game. and Baily and other players also repeated the same thing as warner and watson.... Now I hope they understand you can do once 23 runs against ajmal not always, and you can get once 15 runs from quality bowling in one over but not in all 4 over...

  • on March 23, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    i think aus lost it coz of no other contribution. 2 played superb but no other reached double figure.

    also the wicket got slow after 11 overs or so. 2 overs before maxwells wicket , the bastmen were feeling difficulties in putting bowlers away. even though both were set.

    need some contribution from others.

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  • on March 23, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    i think aus lost it coz of no other contribution. 2 played superb but no other reached double figure.

    also the wicket got slow after 11 overs or so. 2 overs before maxwells wicket , the bastmen were feeling difficulties in putting bowlers away. even though both were set.

    need some contribution from others.

  • bouncer709 on March 23, 2014, 17:43 GMT

    I think Aus lost it coz of their craziness, they were just slogging and throwing bat at every ball, Maxwell innings was very good and very quick, but as said in the article Kamran Akmal and Umer Akmal from 8th to 12th over collected 72 runs from 30 balls, this phase of Pakistan innings had high strike rate than Maxwell (74 from 33) ... but they did it quietly.... while Maxwell was playing in a way that every ball we were expecting his wkt to come, he was also dropped, but when got out Pakistan was again in the game. and Baily and other players also repeated the same thing as warner and watson.... Now I hope they understand you can do once 23 runs against ajmal not always, and you can get once 15 runs from quality bowling in one over but not in all 4 over...

  • johnjo on March 23, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Still better than India who dropped 2 catches of C. Gayle - both were easy.

  • on March 23, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    Run rate required was between 7 and 8 for awhile and that's when the Aussies needed to be calm and professional to see them through. There's plenty of experience in the lineup but today they weren't good enough. Fantastic effort by Maxwell. Aussies need to look at all their spin options because that seems vital to winning the tournament.

  • on March 23, 2014, 19:05 GMT

    I think they became complecent and lost momentum

  • on March 23, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    i agree with u skiper

  • on March 23, 2014, 19:21 GMT

    Wow..Brad Hodge can get out...proves that he's just a human...The most underrated and destructive and intelligent t20 player ever in my book.

  • on March 23, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    Ausies lost because of the following five reasons 1. Inexperienced side played for them. 2. Not too much depth in their batting line up. 3. No batting plan against spinners especially the new comer Zulfiqar Babar who actually took the sting out of their batting by dismissing Warner and especially Watson. 4.They seemed to have no experienced bowlers either. 5. Because Pakistan was always going to win on the 23rd of March (Pakistan Day), hence do not be disappointed Aussies it was just that they had a bad day.

  • pat_one_back on March 23, 2014, 20:24 GMT

    Credit to Pakistan for hanging in and tightening the screws, Aust were home and hosed midway through the chase. Some poor fielding on both sides but the most costly drop went to Aust whilst Pakistan held a difficult and important catch off Hodge to shut Aust out. Finch seemed to forget that his strength was strength itself, powerful regulation shots, he moved around far too much at the crease. A good anchor score but he wouldn't have lasted playing more than support to Maxwell who fell only an over or two short of stealing a win from the better side. Thankfully WI also went down last night so Aust still have a good opportunity to claw back from here, Watson must anchor though as one of the few Aussies who scores well against spin.

  • PFEL on March 23, 2014, 20:29 GMT

    "Our fielding was shoddy" - lol understatement of the century right there. Pakistan didn't win this game, at all. Australia gift wrapped it for them.