Australia's fielders don't normally dive over the ball or react late to hard-hit shots. Against Pakistan, they did both, frequently, in a below-par fielding effort that eventually had some influence on the match result.
The Akmal brothers pushed Pakistan's run rate between the start of the eighth over and the end of the 13th, adding 81 runs in 36 balls. They were helped during this period by Australia's fielders.
Brad Hogg dropped Umar Akmal on 22, a chance he should have taken at deep square-leg. In the next over from the same end, Doug Bollinger dropped a sitter at short fine-leg and though it was a no-ball from Shane Watson, it said much about their fielding. Towards the end of the innings too, Brad Hodge dropped Shahid Afridi at point and though it was going over his head, the timing of the jump could have done the job.
The Australian bowlers started and ended quite well, keeping the Pakistan top order quiet for the first seven overs, and keeping a check on Shahid Afridi to ensure the score didn't go past the 200 mark. Pakistan collected just two sixes in the last five overs. But their cricket in between was shoddy.
Apart from the two legitimate chances, the Australian fielders regularly moved late, which was quite unusual, considering their usual levels. What also caught the eye was the number of times balls went under fielders and the times the infielders let the ball go past them, beckoning the outfielders to cut it off. Though these small mistakes usually go unnoticed, it was clear they didn't sit well with their captain George Bailey, who said the fielding was far worse than his bowlers' efforts.
"The fielding was shoddy for the standard that we set ourselves," Bailey said. "It was something that we spoke about, that we thought in this tournament could be a point of difference. It's something we've done very well in the last few games, and it just wasn't to the standard that we set ourselves.
"I am not as disappointed with the bowling as the fielding. I wasn't too disappointed with the bowling. There is always things you can improve, but I think they were two for 40-odd after about seven [overs], which was a really good start for us. Certainly [there are] things to improve on, but [I am] not too disappointed."
Australia did struggle against spin, as was the talk in the lead-up to this game. Pakistan left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar made immediate impact by dismissing David Warner and Shane Watson in the first over while Afridi and Saeed Ajmal timed their best overs almost to perfection. Ajmal's last over, the 18th over of Australia's innings, went for just one run.
Bailey said the third-wicket partnership between Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell, which took Australia from 8 for 2 to the comfort of 126 for 3, should have been capitalised on by the batsmen who followed them to the crease. But the captain himself had a hard time handling the spinners.
"It was just a shift in momentum," Bailey said. "I certainly found it pretty hard to get going, whether to take that risk and knowing they had probably, as most teams do, five or six overs from their best bowlers left; Afridi, Ajmal and Gul all bowled really well.
"I think to get ourselves into a position where we needed 70 off 60 shows a lot of promise. Two outstanding innings from [Maxwell and Finch], so that's really good for us, but absolutely, from there, you'd like to think that you can finish it off."