T20 World Cup: Search for chinks on road to final
Consistency has been synonymous with the Babar Azam-led Pakistan team that has made few errors in the T20 World Cup to be the first team to make the semi-finals. But in the semi-finals, they are up against an Australian side that has peaked gradually, strengthening themselves as the competition progressed.
So will Aaron Finch and his colleagues be able to string together another clinical performance to stall the Pakistan juggernaut? The turn of events at the Dubai International Stadium on Thursday will have all the answers.
There’s not too much to separate the two sides. Bowling, in terms of both pace and spin, is as much Australia’s strength as it’s that of Pakistan and batting-wise too, the two teams are well placed.
The Pakistan pace attack, led by the fiery Shaheen Shah Afridi, will play a crucial role in thwarting Australia’s opening duo of David Warner and Aaron Finch, who will both be key to laying a foundation for their side. Similarly, the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins will have their task cut out against the strong opening combination of Babar and Mohammad Rizwan.
If the Australian quicks can make early inroads, they can certainly put the rest of the Pakistan batting order under pressure. Besides, their leg-spinner Adam Zampa too has been highly impressive so far, making an impact in almost every game.
To be fair to Pakistan, almost each and every player in the team is in good form, barring No.3 batsman Fakhar Zaman. However, Fakhar could be the man to counter Zampa, feels Pakistan’s batting consultant Matthew Hayden.
“Don’t be surprised if you see something incredibly special from him, because he is smashing the ball at nets,” Hayden said on Wednesday.
‘Do it for Deano’
Hayden had a special message for the Pakistani players, who he said, are actually the wards of Dean Jones, the stylish Australian batsman who passed away last year. “My former teammate and colleague Dean Jones gave a lot of himself to Pakistan cricket too and his closing words to me were, ‘These are my boys. This is something I’m so passionate about’.
“He was beautifully connected to Pakistan cricket and has left a legacy within this team, which will last not only this generation but for generations to come. If I can add any value to those closing comments from Deano, that would be my greatest honour,” Hayden said.