Dhaka: The Indian spinners’ success against Pakistan on Friday has reaffirmed George Bailey’s belief that spin will play a huge role in deciding the eventual champions in this World T20.
“Absolutely... I think spin plays a huge role in T20, wherever it’s played in the world,” Australia’s T20 captain said on Saturday, the eve of their World t20 match against Pakistan. “Certainly in these conditions, the spinners tend to decide the course of the match. It’s a challenge. We know we are going to face lots of spin, we know we are probably going to bowl a lot of spin. Our approach will be to play spinners well.”
Australia, riding a wave of success in Tests and ODIs, are once again aiming to win the World T20 title, after having missed out on the four previous occasions. For Pakistan, Sunday’s clash will be a test of their capabilities with another defeat only complicating their chances of making it to the semi-finals.
“We will have to try and win every match from here on… If you lose the first match, there’s bound to be more pressure. The format is such that no team will reach the final without losing a single game. For any team to put in three or four consistent performances is a hard task… We can’t afford to take another wrong step and every match will be important,” said Pakistan coach Moin Khan.
Pakistan’s strong spin attack isn’t a worry for Australia. At least, Bailey will make us believe so.
“I think we have seen most of them now over a period of years… It’s challenging. I guess you just talk about it as much as you can, reflect on those experiences of the past… You are forever trying to get better. Certainly they have got three spinners in the top-10 of T20 cricket…
“They are a very, very strong in spin and the conditions can be challenging for us over here. But I think we have certainly got a strong batting line-up at the moment that hopefully can overcome them,” said a confident Bailey.
Will Saeed Ajmal’s variations be a cause for worry? “I don’t want to put a name really, I think they are all going to be dangerous. We went through the Pakistan team in our team meeting last night and there’re so many match-winners. I think historically, as it has been mentioned, the guys have struggled against Pakistan spinners. If we are going to win the game, we have to play really well against the spinners.
“I think most of the guys watched last night’s match at the hotel. A great chance to see both India and Pakistan play, see how the wicket plays and see the conditions under lights... There was a lot of information to be gathered and most guys took that opportunity.”
Pakistan are hoping to exploit Australia’s presumed weakness against spin. “They can be susceptible against the spinners… We are capable of exploiting that to our advantage,” said Moin.
Bailey doesn’t think Australia will have a mental edge after Pakistan’s loss on Friday night. “I don’t think we have any advantage. If anything, they have probably got the advantage in terms of having played here, got used to the conditions. We haven’t played at this ground yet, it is going to be fresh for us. We have to adjust pretty quickly,” said a cautious Australia captain.
He agrees a victory will help the side gain momentum. “I think the team that wins will have the momentum. Going back to the last World Cup, the West Indies had momentum. It really comes down to two stages. I think you have got to play some good, consistent cricket to get to the knockout stages…Once you get there, you hope that you continue that momentum, and enjoy a little bit of luck.”
“It’s always nice to start with a win. In a tournament like this, momentum is really important. Starting with a win gets you off and running… I think you can only lose one or two to not get through. The more wins the better, there is no doubt about that.
“It is going to be very hard to play your best game in every match, but the teams that’s most consistent is going to win more often… That’s what we are after… just that consistency,” explained Bailey.
Match starts: 3 pm (IST)