|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
May 1, 2010
Match FactsSunday, May 2, St Lucia
The Big PictureThe defending champions play one of the first-round losers from 2009 in a match that will be crucial to the group. Pakistan started their tournament strongly with a 21-run win against Bangladesh on Saturday and are faced with the unusual situation of back-to-back games over the weekend.
Australia have had a leisurely start to the campaign, which has included some training, jet-skiing and a warm-up loss to Zimbabwe. In the past two Twenty20 tournaments they have been defeated in their opening games and the coaching staff has lectured them on the importance of beginning well.
Michael Clarke is in charge of his first major tournament and has a team dotted with Twenty20 specialists, although there is a feeling the outfit is still too traditional to reach the finals. David Warner, Cameron White, David Hussey, Shaun Tait and Dirk Nannes provide some specialist limited-overs knowledge and will be relied on to gain or recapture momentum.
The slow St Lucia surface will have a big say on the result and there is an outside chance of up to eight spinners being employed. Pakistan should have the upper hand in both the quality of slow bowlers and their ability to play their opponents' options.
Dealing with a pace trio of Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Tait and Dirk Nannes won't be quite as comfortable. Pakistan have recovered well since their practice loss to Zimbabwe and seem desperate to extend their global reign.
Form guide (most recent first)Australia LWWWW
Watch out for...
David Warner is a tiny man with massive power and a huge job at the top of Australia's order. Warner must give Australia a swift start to allow Michael Clarke, the No.3, to have a base from which he can feel comfortable chipping the ball around. Warner owns two of the fastest fifties in Twenty20 - one took 18 balls, the other 19 - but he will have to conquer the spinners to match those efforts in this event.
The last time Shahid Afridi played against Australia his stomach grumbled and he chomped at the ball. In this match the rumbling must come from his batting and bowling, which is well suited to the format. Over 28 games he has achieved a strike-rate of 144.04 with the bat and his average is 17.32 with the ball. Now he is captain and in charge of guiding the defending champions.
Team newsThe big questions centre around the make-up of the spinners. Should Nathan Hauritz be the first choice despite no wickets in the lead-up games? Do they want the big-hitting of Steven Smith as well as his legspinners? And can they both fit into the side? Michael Clarke and David Hussey will chip in with overs as well. Ryan Harris, a late replacement for Brett Lee, will almost certainly be allowed some extra rest but the other 14 players in the squad are available.
Australia (probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 David Warner, 3 Michael Clarke (capt), 4 David Hussey, 5 Cameron White, 6 Brad Haddin (wk), 7 Michael Hussey, 8 Steven Smith, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Dirk Nannes, 11 Shaun Tait.
After their impressive opening Pakistan have no reason to change, unless they want another slow-bowling option. Abdul Razzaq was expensive in two overs, giving up 23 runs, and could make way if the team management is in a tinkering mood.
Pakistan (probable) 1 Salman Butt, 2 Kamran Akmal (wk), 3 Shahid Afridi (capt), 4 Abdul Razzaq, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Mohammad Hafeez, 7 Umar Akmal, 8 Fawad Alam, 9 Mohammad Sami, 10 Mohammad Aamer, 11 Saeed Ajmal.
Pitch and conditionsIt seems slow and low pitches will dominate the first week of the tournament at least. Hauritz was surprised by the lack of speed during the practice games in St Lucia. "It was slower than what we're used to," he said. "We're going to have to adapt to it very quickly." The Pakistanis also felt the conditions were difficult during their opening success. Scattered showers are tipped for Sunday along with a top temperature of 30C.
Stats and trivia
Quotes"On these types of tracks he'd be very difficult for the opposition."
"They're not going to be bowling short. They're going to be bowling full and they're going to be going further. So we'll see what happens."
David Warner is eying the straight boundaries in this tournament
|Comments have now been closed for this article
The veteran spinner's dream spell against Australia in 2003 symbolised a brief golden period for Kenya, but since his retirement, the country's cricket has nose-dived
Plays of the Day from the Champions League T20 match between Chennai Super Kings and Perth Scorchers, in Bangalore
Ashwell Prince talks about proving critics wrong, scoring hundreds against Australia, and that unending partnership in Colombo
Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Dolphins and Lahore Lions in Bangalore
The Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Kings XI Punjab and Northern Knights, in Mohali
Cricket should look to not only shore up struggling and emerging cricketing nations but also to export the game with entrepreneurial vigour
West Indies' ODI squad for India is surprisingly light on spin, but the tour is an opportunity for Samuels and Russell to make strong comebacks
Without more fixtures with Full Members, they can't get more funds. Without funds, they can't keep their players
Though derided and sometimes ridiculed, county cricket still holds the key for the future of the game in England and if all involved believed in it just a little more, it could produce an even greater harvest