Australia v India, Super Eights, Group F, Barbados May 7, 2010

Australia's aggression will take some stopping

Australia's strength has always been to hit the opposition hard. They are now showing they can replicate that success in Twenty20

There's a large stand at the Kensington Oval which carries the name of the three Ws. Australia showed they have two pretty handy Ws themselves as Shane Watson and David Warner produced a brutal display of hitting to lay the platform for a crushing victory against India. There isn't anything subtle about Australia's style of Twenty20 cricket, but there is a growing confidence and strut about them.

When the openers were separated in the 11th over, they'd added 104 and that included a maiden - the first over of the match - by Harbhajan Singh. Batsmen have learnt it is often worth having an early look at the bowling even in the Powerplay, although India's top order didn't follow suit. Overs three to 14 of Australia's innings went for 126 runs - in the other nine India didn't do a bad job at restricting the scoring but it was too late.

There are many ways to skin a cat and there are many ways to play a Twenty20 innings. This tournament has already shown a full range. There has been the elegance of Mahela Jaywardene's hundred against Zimbabwe, the invention of Eoin Morgan against West Indies and the measured approach of Kevin Pietersen against Pakistan.

There have been innings of brief brutality by Albie Morkel yesterday and Darren Sammy against Ireland, but for a sustained, fierce onslaught it is difficult to look past Watson, firstly against Pakistan and now on this occasion where he was joined by his opening partner. The boundaries here are not the biggest, but they were cleared with ease and twice the ball flew over the stands.

"I believe we have the best two openers in Twenty20 cricket in the world at the moment," Michael Clarke said. "I think they bat fantastically together, a left and right-hand combination, both are very aggressive but if they need to take their time they don't seem distressed too much. I think they are a wonderful combination and will continue to play a huge part in this tournament - two wonderful players and I am blessed to have them on my team."

But it's one thing to want to hit the ball out of the ground - and that's the aim of most batsmen in Twenty20 - and another having the execution to pull it off. The contrast with India's top-order effort was stark as they floundered against a sustained assault from Australia's barrage of quick bowlers. Both Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina flinched against the short ball and a realistic chance in the chase had gone. India have improved considerably in recent years away from home, but pace and bounce can still be their undoing.

Australia's stand-and-deliver approach is highlighted by almost 50 percent of their runs (90) coming in sixes - there were 16 in the innings and just six fours - and knowing the hyper-critical assessments they make of their performances, a final five-over tally of 39 will be an area they will assess, particularly after Mohammad Aamer's final over in St Lucia. India's bowlers found a more consistent length late in the innings - with Ashish Nehra's last over especially impressive - but it couldn't pull back the lost ground.

The harshest treatment was reserved for Ravindra Jadeja who went for 38 in his two overs, including six consecutive sixes split between two overs. MS Dhoni probably regretted bringing him on early, but why he brought him back with the openers in full flow was a mystery. The lack of pace is meant to make spinners harder to hit, but it didn't make an ounce of difference to Watson and Warner.

Australia's Twenty20 plan is based around force from start to finish. There is an element of shock and awe about the way they are going about the game. The fancy tactics of other teams - opening with spinners, taking the pace off the ball and deft placement - are replaced by all-out aggression with bat and ball. Australia's strength has always been to hit the opposition hard whichever format they are playing, but it has taken them a while to replicate success in Twenty20. They have options that make them adaptable - the spin of Clarke, David Hussey and Steven Smith - but route one for them is attack.

Even without Brett Lee they have the most intimidating pace line-up in the tournament and arguably the quickest attack in any form of the game. Dirk Nannes, who only plays this format for Australia, regularly pushes the speed gun past 150kph. Along with Warner and David Hussey he is making a strong case for the Twenty20-only players to be properly recognised by Cricket Australia who haven't issued them contracts.

As Australia's previous match against Bangladesh showed - they were 65 for 6 at one stage - there will still be times when they come unstuck, but now there is a feeling that, like they have in Tests and one-dayers, they will find a way to win. Even in the most fickle of formats, they are going to take some stopping.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dan on May 12, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    Sorry, there's only so much BS one can take before you dry heave. Only 1 or 2 Indian fans spoke of the Australian's brilliance. To delude yourself by concocting tales of woe and poor preparation, with players out, team selection, captaincy, etc., or to take away from the excellent Aussie performance is in incredible denial. Instead of admitting that Australia was too good, it is much easier to self-delude and conjure wispy, hollow notions that your team weren't good enough. What this indicates to me is a deep insecurity held by most Indian supporters because they refuse to admit that they are NOT the best team in the world, and that Australia could field all 6 of our first-class teams in competitions such as this, and they would beat most countries. None are so blind than those who refuse to see. I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but Australia is better than India at cricket. Why didn't India win? Occam's Razor. Out played, crushed by Australia again. To say otherwise is tripe.

  • Nathan on May 10, 2010, 7:35 GMT

    three comments unpublished in a row ... starting to give up on this site ever being balanced. Why should people be forced to write delusional pro india rubiish in order to get their voice heard?!

  • Nathan on May 10, 2010, 1:32 GMT

    All we need now is the indian fans and media to blame Steve Bucknor ... I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

  • Jay on May 9, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    @Josephus-what's that I see on your shoulder? Heck, its a forest of Giant redwoods! Must be tricky carting that around... you're not a Saffa by any chance are you?

    Though not a great fan of the 'New' India myself,middle class India is going through an accelerated adolescence after an equally accelerated childhood. But there's no denying the prodigy that it is...and like old fogies at a university who try to talk down the prodigious child in their midst who has risen despite their attempts at suppression, much of the old order tries to do the same with India-it shows fear and a realization that their (ill gained) time is up.

    In this case, the fact that the prodigy is the descendant of the teacher whose teachings they stole as their own before they maimed him must be especially galling.

  • Muthuvel on May 8, 2010, 23:27 GMT

    @ josephus how can a country be called pathetic because of a cricket team which is not generally bad, but lost to a team that was superior on a particular surface on a particular day ? @ many irrate pak fans ; how come aus is your surrogate team now, wait a minute cause your team is loosing all games..ok @cricinfo it would be a shame if you dont publish this comment too as i try to defend my country, there are many provocative comments from the other point of view but.

    summary, dont jump the gun Aus took out india in one match, there are a few to follow, india is still a good team, probably aus is better.

  • Dummy4 on May 8, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    Australia have the most allround Team at the moment, Bowlers that take wickets and opener who score runs, even if they fall others step up and can continue the pace. Still This isnt the strongest line up for the Australians, missing Brett Lee and why Tim Paine ist playing? Much better 20/20 player than Haddin will ever be and just as good behind the stumps

  • arun on May 8, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    This ipl is realy spoiling the indian cricket,murali vijay is waste choice ,we had gone for robin uthapa and irfan pathan instead of jadeja .

  • gerard on May 8, 2010, 15:34 GMT

    Dispite all the hype and hallaballoo of the IPL this current Indian team are brain dead and play the game on instinct rather than ability to read the match situation, or tournment situation ( Net run rate) and play accordingly. Technical flaws, selection blunders also contributed to the fiasco. the Victory against South Africa in a meaningless game lulled the team into a false sense of security. Some one should tell both Raina and Gambir that they are better of ducking the one bouncer coming their way per over rather than trying to pull and hook. Both Gambhir and Vijay are more suited to test cricket & do not belong in the T20 format. Pathan, Karthik, Jadeja are just not up to international standard in games played outside India. Uttappa,Kholi, Irfan Pathan & Shreeshanth would have given the team more options. But the sad fact is that had Kumble & Tendulkar been playing the team would have had a better chance of winnin

  • srinath on May 8, 2010, 14:06 GMT

    Its bcoz of that Rascal selector srikanth & the worst managed board of the world BCCI. Thanks for their regional selection rather than merit gives this result. Yuvraj plays for money, injured out of form Gambhir, Jadeja with no play for 3months,,,,,,, made this possible

  • vivek on May 8, 2010, 13:39 GMT


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