Australia vs Pakistan, 2nd semi final, St Lucia May 13, 2010

Australia clear favourites

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan
Stats preview to the second semi-final of the World Twenty20 between Australia and Pakistan

Australia enter the semi-final against Pakistan as overwhelming favourites not just because of their superb performances in the tournament so far, but their astounding run in major tournaments over the last few years. They have triumphed in both the 50-over World Cups in the past decade and also in the last two editions of the ICC Champions Trophy. Their only blemish has been not winning the World Twenty20, but their run this year suggests they might just break that jinx.

Pakistan have every reason to be overawed by their opponents. They have lost all the matches played across all three formats in the last year against them, including a convincing defeat in the group stages in this year's tournament.

The table below shows the overall batting and bowling performance of both the teams so far in this tournament. Shane Watson and David Warner have provided aggressive starts, while superb late-order hitting from Michael Hussey and Cameron White has boosted the Australian run rate. On the bowling front, their pace attack led by Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson has wrecked the top order of all opponents in every game played so far. Pakistan, on the other hand, have performed well below the level they managed in the previous edition of World Twenty20. The absence of Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul has seriously affected their wicket-taking ability in the first few overs and inconsistent batting has also not helped their cause so far.

Overall run rate and economy rate
Team Matches played Run-rate Economy rate Run-rate difference
Australia 5 8.23 6.18 2.05
Pakistan 5 7.56 7.43 0.16

Watson and Warner have had a fairly successful time at the top of the order in the tournament. Despite a couple of failures against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, they posted a century stand in quick time setting up the victory against India. Although the Powerplay batting stats for Australia are not the best, the match-winning capabilities of the openers is a constant threat to opponents. Pakistan' batsmen have struggled in the Powerplay overs. Salman Butt has looked good on most occasions but has not received much support.

Batting performance in the Powerplay overs
Team Runs scored Balls faced Run rate Wickets lost Average
Australia 213 180 7.10 9 23.66
Pakistan 194 180 6.46 10 19.40

Michael Hussey and Cameron White have provided the fireworks in the final overs consistently. Hussey, especially, has been in terrific form throughout. He helped his team wriggle out of a hole against Bangladesh, and in the course of the century stand with White against Sri Lanka, the pair added nearly 70 runs off the last five overs to propel Australia to a match-winning score after a terrible start. Pakistan, meanwhile, have been inconsistent, with a good showing against South Africa being the only positive.

Batting performance in the last six overs
Team Runs scored Balls faced Run rate Wickets lost Average
Australia 278 158 10.55 13 21.38
Pakistan 236 180 7.86 18 13.11

Australia's fast bowlers have been exceptional in the beginning of the innings. Nannes is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament so far and Johnson and Tait are not far behind. The early wickets have allowed Australia to establish a stranglehold in all the games played. Pakistan haven't taken as many wickets in the Powerplays, though they've done pretty well to keep the runs in check.

Bowling performance in the Powerplay overs
Team Runs conceded Balls bowled Economy rate Wickets taken Average
Australia 185 195 5.69 16 11.56
Pakistan 209 188 6.67 7 29.85

Australia have been so convincing that they have not had much bowling to do in the final overs of the innings. Their performance is still exceptional in the last overs with their pace attack doing most of the damage while the legspinner Steven Smith has also chipped in with a few wickets. Pakistan's spinners have been ordinary in this tournament except in one game when they managed to curtail the scoring rate of a strangely subdued South Africa. Saeed Ajmal, though, has picked up ten wickets in the tournament so far and is the biggest threat.

Bowling performance in the last six overs
Team Runs conceded Balls bowled Economy rate Wickets taken Average
Australia 143 133 6.45 16 8.93
Pakistan 249 182 8.20 21 11.85

The Australian fast bowlers have bowled the majority of the overs for the team and have been remarkably successful, going at just over six runs per over and picking up 32 wickets. Smith has led the way for the spin attack grabbing nine wickets and conceding less than seven runs per over. The combination seems to be working perfectly with the initial damage being done by the pace attack and the spinners further denting the opposition in the middle overs. Pakistan's spinners have not been as impressive as they were in the previous edition of the tournament. Shahid Afridi has not been among the wickets this time. Even so, they have performed better than the fast bowlers who have hardly looked threatening.

Performance of pace and spin bowlers for Australia
Type of bowler Runs conceded Balls bowled Economy rate Wickets taken Average
Pace 404 382 6.34 32 12.62
Spin 182 168 6.50 15 12.13

Performance of pace and spin bowlers for Pakistan
Type of bowler Runs conceded Balls bowled Economy rate Wickets taken Average
Pace 329 252 7.83 13 25.30
Spin 428 345 7.44 19 22.52

Australia have played twice in St Lucia and won on both occasions, including the game against Pakistan. Pakistan have played three times at this venue and won two including a very good win against South Africa. Australia have batted first in four of the five games they have played and all four have been comfortable wins, the lowest margin being 27 runs. Pakistan did lose to England after batting first, but it seems to be their best bet as their inconsistent and brittle line-up might not match up in a tough chase against the best bowling side of the tournament.