Pakistan V Australia Semi Final Preview

11/11/21 Category: Blog Posted by:

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Following Monday’s announcement that they will tour Pakistan next year for the first time in more than two decades, Australia will first look to defeat Babar Azam’s dynamic team in Friday morning’s (AEST) semi-final.

 

Having suffered one bruising loss to England, Australia has turned their tournament around, and convincing victories against Bangladesh and West Indies secured their place in the finals. Though they entered the tournament under clouds of both form and T20 specific depth, Aaron Finch can be well pleased that his side has found a winning combination.

 

By contrast, Pakistan – who have played the same XI in all five matches thus far – have been dominant throughout. Undefeated, they are keen to put to bed the perennial query as to ‘which Pakistan’ will show up at ICC events; their blistering form with both bat and ball making them warm favourites to claim their second T20 World Cup.

 

Australia, ironically, will back their top order muscle to overcome Pakistan. Though David Warner and Aaron Finch are bona-fide champions of the game’s shortest format, both were sorely out of touch leading in to the tournament. Warner in particular had struggled to the point of being dropped from his IPL franchise. As ever, though, the pair have responded to be Australia’s highest run-getters; Warner with 187 and Finch 130 to date. Moreover, Warner in particular offers a certain dynamism both in the field and between the wickets when fit, setting an exceptional standard for his teammates.

 

With such dominance at the top of the list, those that follow are made to look that much more imposing; the likes of Marsh, Stoinis and Maxwell allowed to play with requisite freedom. That, of course, is to say nothing of Smith who arguably remains the best batter on the planet. Batting at three, Marsh (16*, 53) has been damaging in his last two innings, following his recall after being dropped for the loss against England. Content with how things are placed, the powerful Western Australian thinks there is a good balance of clarity and flexibility in the Australian side.

 

“I just go out there, get a clear a role before the game,” he said. “Sometimes that changes, but we’ve all taken that on board.”

 

Though Marsh has enjoyed some time in the middle, Glenn Maxwell, who entered the tournament as one of the form batters in the world, has been denied the chance to flourish. With limited time at the wicket, he has scored just 29 runs – his last two innings both 0* of 0 balls. That said, the all-rounder feels primed should an opportunity arise.

 

“I’m certainly not fazed by a lack of time in the middle because it’s actually been really nice change,” he said. “It means the top order is going well if I’m not out there.”

 

As it relates to a dominant top order, Pakistan are well versed in this World Cup. Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan have formed the most devastating of opening partnerships, and the duo will look to set up the game for Pakistan once again. Azam (264) is the leading run-scorer for the tournament, while Rizwan (214), is not far behind.

 

As with Australia, Pakistan boast powerful players through the middle order, with Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik two of the most devastating finishers in the game. Malik, who made his international debut in 1999, showed he has still got what it takes in the last match against Scotland, with 54 from 19 balls; Pakistan’s fastest half-century in T20I’s.

 

Also one of the best players of spin, Malik might play an invaluable role through the middle of the innings, neutralising Adam Zampa. The leading bowler of the teams that automatically qualified for the Super 12’s, Zampa has exploited the spin-friendly conditions to take 11 wickets with a best of 5/19.

 

As for the quick bowlers, both teams have a need – or at least a penchant – for speed.  Australia’s trio of Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood have been mightily impressive, proving themselves as invaluable multi-format commodities. For Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Imad Wasim both provide a dangerous left-arm angle, particularly against Aaron Finch who is susceptible during the powerplay, while Haris Rauf has claimed eight wickets with express pace of his own.

 

It shapes as a tantalising encounter between two sides with stars on every line.    

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