Australia v Pakistan, Group A, St Lucia

Clarke confident after opening win

Cricinfo staff

May 2, 2010

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Mitchell Johnson and the rest celebrate a strike, Australia v Pakistan, Group A, ICC World Twenty20, St Lucia, May 2, 2010
Australia's all-round efforts pleased the captain Michael Clarke © AFP
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Australia's captain Michael Clarke was pleased with the rounded nature of his team's big win over Pakistan to give them a bright start to the ICC World Twenty20. Australia posted 191, the best total in the tournament so far, before their fast men combined for eight wickets to confirm the 34-run victory.

The triumph should be enough to see Australia through to the Super Eights, barring a disastrous loss to Bangladesh, and that would be a step in the right direction after they crashed out in the first round last year. Clarke said this year's new-look squad was keen to prove itself in the shortest format.

"There's extra motivation from within the squad, we want to perform better in Twenty20 cricket then we have in general," Clarke told reporters after the win. "I think our form has improved over the last 12 months and we've started really well. The key is going to be adapting to conditions and I think we've got a really good squad to do that.

"It was a very good start from the boys. Obviously our batting sets the game up there, getting 191 runs. The bowlers did a great job as well in the first six overs up front and we caught really well as well."

The success of the pace trio of Shaun Tait, Dirk Nannes and Mitchell Johnson went against the expected trend of the tournament, with the pitches having proved slow and low so far. Nathan Hauritz did not play against Pakistan and Clarke used the spin of David Hussey and Steven Smith instead, but he is happy with the options in his group.

"All four fast bowlers in our squad are not just four fast bowlers who just run in and bowl at the same pace, and bowl the same ball every ball," Clarke said. "They've got great variation, great pace and the key for those guys is their execution which they did really well today.

"We've got two really good spinners in our squad, a couple of all-rounders and there's a couple of us average part-timers who will bowl a couple of overs here and there. I think the strength of this squad is that we have a plan B, which a lot of other teams don't have."

Pakistan defeated Bangladesh on Saturday, which means that only a healthy Bangladesh win over Australia in Barbados on Wednesday will prevent Pakistan and Australia from progressing. But after Australia's warm-up loss to Zimbabwe, Clarke said the team would be taking no chances against Bangladesh.

"Any team in this competition has a great opportunity," he said. "We got beaten by Zimbabwe a couple of days ago. It just shows in this form of the game, you have to be at your best, it doesn't matter who you are playing against. We certainly won't be taking Bangladesh lightly. They've got some wonderful Twenty20 players who are very aggressive with the bat."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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News | Features Last 3 days