Friday, 18 March 2011

Preview-Australia versus Pakistan by Tim Holt

This is a huge clash that will more likely than not decide the Team that finishes on top.So there is all to play for for both of the Teams
So lets start by looking at the Australian's


World Cup Form:
The Australian's have been undefeated so far in this Tournament.Which on paper indeed looks very impressive.Though when you take a close look at their games you start to query how good they are.For they have accounted for the Associate Teams in Zimbabwe,Kenya and Canada and beaten a New Zealand Team that was reeling in the wake of an Earthquake tragedy back home.In the game against a quality Team against Sri Lanka. They were under the cosh with their bowling hardly posing a threat.A true indicator of the real Australia would have been seen in that game,but Mother Nature won out half way through Sri Lanka's innings when they batted first

The Likely Team
The Australian's are unlikely to make changes so the Team will be as follows:

Watson, Haddin, Ponting,Clarke, White, Hussey, Smith, Johnson, Lee, Krejza, Tait

4 Keys For Them To Win

1,The Openers Need To fire
Whether they are batting first or chasing the openers need to get Australia a good start.For the obvious reason of the impetus it will provide the rest of the innings.Though more importantly it will blunt Pakistan if they decide to try to beat Australia with spin.Which they obviously will for it's a known thought amongst cricket observers.That this Aussie Team are bunnies against spin.
If the openers can get a good start then the game changes.For the spinners will have to bowl against set batsmen with defensive fields.Thus their effectiveness will be neutralised.From the point of view they'll have to bowl in a defensive manner rather than an attacking manner

2,Australia's Middle Order versus Pakistan's Spinners
The Australian duo of Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey are without a doubt Australia's best players of spin.If in fact the openers fail and Ponting continues with his struggles.The Pakistani's will throw the noose around the Aussie batsmen's necks and let the spinners pull tight to strangle the life out of them.Though in the midst of this. These two Aussie batsmen are good enough players against spin to turn the tables.They'd do this by attacking with discretion till they got on top and then dominating.
As we saw with Hussey against Graeme Swann in the Ashes and Michael Clarke against spinners in the past
These two could be key in Australia winning the match

3,Can The Aussie Pace Trio Continue The Form?
In this World Cup so far the trio of Brett Lee,Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait have been very fine performers.Though the fact that all the three have had various struggles in the recent past makes you question if they can keep up their form.In a game like this on a pitch that will more likely be dead and in no way favour them it will be a huge challenge.So if they struggle,the fact they are all attacking bowlers mean that they could go for plenty.It would also throw the Australian bowling into disarray.For you'd have to look at someone like Steve Smith having to cover some of their overs and the Pakistani batsmen would rip his very average offerings to shreds

4,Ricky Ponting Is Due!
The Australia Captain is one of the best batsmen in the games history.Though in the last year from a Team point of view and an individual point of view he's had a very forgettable time.Even here at the World Cup he's struggled with form and had a few incidents on and off the Ground that have rankled him.
Though few even now he's in the twilight of his career doubt his quality and also his pride in performance.
So him playing a match winning innings in this huge game is on the cards
If he does it would be a huge key in Australia winning the match

I for the life of me can't see Steven Smith's role in the Team.So be a great ploy to remove him and include Dave Hussey.For Hussey is a better batsman,bowler and better option for Australia


World Cup Form
The Pakistanis in the Cup so far have been very impressive in regards to showing that they have a Team that has every base covered.As shown against the Sri Lankan's when they get it all right they are very hard to beat and a match for any one
Come the New Zealand game and the Kamran Akmal circus began with him basically costing his Team the game with his blunders.Then in the aftermath his brother got involved in the farce by claiming he was injured to save Kamran getting the bullet (like in Sydney in 2010)
They regained their composure to beat a very average Zimbabwe side with Kamran in it due to Umar being 'injured'
Though sadly one has to worry about the damage that has been done to a side that had been so impressive so far
Needless to say if Pakistan has sense Kamran would be gone and if Umar starts any nonsense he'd be told your out too.
For no one is ever bigger than the Team.
This aside,a Pakistan Team in a chaotic state is at it's most dangerous.

The likely Team
Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Younis, Misbah, Umar Akmal (wk), Razzaq, Afridi, Ajmal, Gul, Wahab, Ahktar

4 Keys For Them To Win

1,Umar Gul And Reverse Swing
This very underatted quick bowler has been so impressive at this World Cup.Again showing that he is one of the Modern day masters with his use of reverse swing.If again he can master it against the Aussies.He will more than likely have great success for the Aussies as seen against the Indian's and English are real bunnies against any type of swing
Gul could be a huge factor in this game

2,Asad Shafique Should Open
The openers for Pakistan have struggled mightily so far in this World Cup and duly Ahmed Shahzad should be dropped.As seen in the last game and in his debut series against South Africa. Asad Shafique is a very fine young player.He in truth would be a perfect opening batsman and if he succeeds he could strengthen the Pakistan side automatically.Not only through his success, but also by allowing Younis Khan to bat at his rightful position at 3

3,Pakistan Needs To Target One Of Lee,Johnson Or Tait
This is a tactic Pakistan needs to take on board.For granted their all quick bowlers but aren't as dangerous as others for they haven't the skill and can be very loose.They are all very one dimensional too for their solely attacking bowlers.So if Pakistan can take one or more to the cleaners and duly knock them out of the attack.They will force the Aussies to look at their part time options which are very average indeed.
If they can do this they will win the game

4,The Fielding And Tactics With The Fields
There is very little doubt that Pakistan will target Australia with spin.Which is completely justified.Though when the spinners come on either in attempt to counter the Australian batsmen being on top or to strangle the life out of them with the Aussies under pressure.Firstly the spinners have to be backed by the fields set by Afridi.There's no sense at all leaving gaps so the batsmen can tap easy singles into the out field.Thus automatically taking the pressure off.Instead they need to challenge the Aussies with more in the infield to challenge the batsmen.Thus making it easier for the bowlers to strangle the batsmen's scoring rates and thus lead to frustration and likely demise.
This being said the men in the infield have to be 100% switched on!
The tactics and the fielding in support of the tactics could be the key factor in the match

The announcement of Shoaib Ahktar's impending retirement after the World Cup will more than likely be a huge inspiration for both him and the Team.As such Shoaib must play in this game

On the basis of the Pitch more than likely favouring spin and Australia's weakness against it with the bat and zero options with it with the ball.
Pakistan should win this match

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