Cricket: ICC World Twenty20 Preview: Australia v Pakistan

Aussie pacer Mitchell Starc

Australia’s Super Eight victory against South Africa leaves one more task-Pakistan, tomorrow night at 8pm AEST.  With Shane Watson in scintillating form (234 runs at 78.00) topping both the batting and bowling lists, Australia, ranked 9th coming into the tournament, now sit as possible favourites to take out the trophy.

With Mitchell Starc (6 wickets) and Mike Hussey (45 not out against South Africa) now having some considerable game time under their belts, the Australians will go in with every chance of a semi final berth.

David Warner will be seeking redemption after being bowled for five by Morne Morkel in the South African match.  And with the top order (Watson and Warner) having scored the bulk of the runs, the question can be asked: what’s inspired the turnaround?

Veteran batsman Mike Hussey

Heading into Tuesday’s match with Pakistan (who won both group stage matches but lost to India in their second Super 8 game), all eyes will be on Watson to see if he can maintain his impressive form.  However, with the likes of the experienced Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal ready to bounce back from disappointing bowling performances against India, Australia will have to post a decent total if they bat first.

Pakistan has the means to post an unreachable score, but recent opponents India and South Africa have restricted them to 128 and 8/136 respectively.  The likes of Imran Nazir and Mohammad Hafeez have simply not had the opportunity to step up to the plate and hit consistent big scores.  If Aussie bowlers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Watson are able to get on top on what will very likely be another dusty Colombo pitch, the chance of another Australian victory is very likely.

Having come into the competition rank underdogs, Australia has surprised many punters and journos by not only winning, but deconstructing the opposition to the point of almost humiliation.  The dismissal of Irishman William Porterfield by Shane Watson in their first match has set the standard for the rest of their tournament.

Prediction: Australia.

(image source: ICC)

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