England v Australia, World Twenty20 final, Barbados May 15, 2010

Pace attacks gear up for battle


Both finalists will be happy to be back in Barbados, a venue which has treated them well in this tournament. England warmed up here and then returned to beat Pakistan and South Africa in the Super Eights after a stressful time in Guyana, while Australia were too good for Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India on a bouncy surface.

The wicket has been a revelation and is expected to provide an engrossing contest again with rewards on offer for bowlers and batsmen - Twenty20 is as much about an even contest as any format. Australia's fast-bowling trio of Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson relished the conditions and will be aiming to push the speed gun again.

England's seamers don't possess the same extreme pace and have relied more on subtle variation although it's unlikely that the slower-ball bouncers, used so effectively against Sri Lanka in the semi-final, will be as useful on this pitch. Expect the short balls to be nearing full pace this time.

"Two very good pace attacks will play tomorrow," Michael Clarke said. "England have bowlers with very good skills for this form of cricket. I don't think their pace is as quick as ours, we have three guys who bowl over 150 kph, but I think the execution has been very good. They are very intelligent T20 bowlers, using their change of pace and their bounces and I think our batsmen will have to be 'on' from the start. They certainly will have plans for all our batsmen, as we will have for them."

Clarke, though, couldn't hide his excitement at the prospect of being able to unleash his quicks again on this surface where they caused plenty of problems during the Super Eights.

"This wicket looks very good, very flat and hopefully it has a bit of pace and bounce in it for both teams, we both like that," he said. "I know our bowlers are very keen to get out there and test the wicket. You have got two very good bowling units on display here."

Australia's attack will provide a stern test for England's opening combination. Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter have played key roles in the team's success, setting a rapid pace at the top of the order. Now they'll have to combat the left-arm angle of Nannes, the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, and Mitchell Johnson plus the slingy pace of Shaun Tait.

"We've got a plan of action against every team and right the way through the tournament, we have been very aggressive and I don't want to change our mindset going into the final," Paul Collingwood said. "There would be no reason at all to change anyone's mindset in the eleven that are going to play tomorrow."

The England batsmen were discussing Australia's left-armers in the nets on Saturday while Collingwood, who like Clarke is the batsman with least form in his team, was finding his range in the middle with the highly successful practice skill of standing by the pitch and smashing throw-downs into the stands. It may sound rudimentary, but it has been a key reason for England's successful six-hitting.

"That's why the guys are going to go out with confidence and belief and keep doing the things they have been doing well throughout this tournament," he said. "We have done it against fast bowlers, against [Dale] Steyn and [Morne] Morkel, they are two very fast bowlers, we have got different angles tomorrow that is the probably the only thing we have got to contend with but we have played against pace bowling before and I believe the guys have got the skills to do it."

There was also a gusty breeze blowing in Barbados the day before the final and, as Mike Hussey said after his breathtaking 60 against Pakistan, it has been vital to use the wind. They sound like minor points, but in this final it could be the small details that make the difference.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Siddharth on May 16, 2010, 14:28 GMT

    It is strange that the captain of this great Australian Team - Michael Clerk is the worst performer of T20 with a hopeless strike rate of 70 odd. According to me,over past few years, the way he has been playingT20 and ODIs he, on merit, does not deserve to be in the Australian team.!! His captaincy is avg and still he is called "Mike Brarely of Australia".. may be because of his FLOP batting show, certainly not because of his leadership...That's the way Cricket Australia functions.A flop leading a team of 10 match winners!!!!!! If England wants to win the world cup they should let Michael Clerk play from one end till the end of 20 overs!!!!!

  • Taimur on May 16, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    The way Australia won the semi final, i think we already had the final. For me i see this more of one sided game with Australia dominating doesnt matter they bat or bowl first. they have advantage in both departmetns bowl and bat, England will be heavily dependend on Pieterson whereas Australia have many of more or same class. England was lucky so far although they have bit of aggression but the arent really challenged so far!!! And see them crumbling to aussie pressure!!!. Few hours away from game but for me the final of the tournament is already finished AUS/PAK.

  • praveen on May 16, 2010, 10:50 GMT

    Hope the poms win atleast one icc tournament for the sake of their rich cricketing culture and tradition atleast! It is good for them and as well as for world cricket which desperately needs more countries to bring in some competitive air into the world arena......more teams should come on to the fore and challenge the bigger nations..... Engalnd vs Australia-lip smacking encounter for a final.....hope to see a humdinger....

  • jude on May 16, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    all the 3 Aussie fastmen will be hit around - If England win the toss - they take the cup..

  • Muthuvel on May 16, 2010, 9:45 GMT

    Actually when i see Ausie fans trying cheap shots at India before a Word event final against England i feel good, understanding that they do hate India for beating them very squarely at times.. yeah but having said that this match is very interesting Aus steam rolled everyone except Pak in semi..but Eng has got the good to beat them.

  • Muthuvel on May 16, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    With out any bias towards England i should say that, this England team has in it what it takes to win a world event like this or even a WC. This particular match the below should be noted.

    1, Aus struggled against quality spin, SL and BD and Harby. And Eng after a long time have one with them now.

    2, English can hit short balls so that goes out of the window.

    3, Only week link is english pace attack against the W's and Mr cricket.

  • shane on May 16, 2010, 8:40 GMT

    Should be a good contest with no india in final as the final is at barbados so india would have been bundled out for under a 100 and wud have been a dissapointing end to a icc tournament..Cmon aussie!!!!

  • john on May 16, 2010, 8:07 GMT

    They have bowled very well, it would have to be one of the fastest bowling attacks of all time Johnson, Nannes, Tait all bowling 150kph+, Watson around 145kph... and this not to mention Brett Lee

  • Sanket on May 16, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    broad wil be the key man he is a big match player he showed that in ashes finale he struggled in 3 tests but was awesome in last two particularly the last likewise he has had a quiet tournament bfore semis bt he stood up to be counted for semis and i expect even greater things in the final

  • Arthur on May 16, 2010, 6:43 GMT

    Express bowling in the Carribean sun. If I recall correctly, this was a particularly successful weapon in years past for a certain team. Maybe it's not the same nation this time around, but the effect should be the same in the final. Clarke has displayed a captaincy mindset which seems at odds with someone so young but hey, when things like this are planned for well in advance by the administration and other stakeholders, maybe it's not so surprising after all.

    Knowing he has bullets in reserve from his pacemen that the opposition don't have, he always has an option to set a strangulation field with virtually no way to the boundaries save over the top. If England can win with sixes, then so be it but I think that's the only shot they have.

    If England can win the toss, they may be able to go the lottery of hitting over the fielders from ball one, but if they lose the toss, the game is already Australia's.

    The one sure thing is that the 2007 Champions are nowhere to be seen.

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