Nannes, Tait serve up some hot stuff for Bangladesh
Unwanted a year ago, Dirk Nannes has become the new pace spearhead for Australia in their bid for glory in the World Twenty20.
The cricketing latecomer, who almost made Australia’s Winter Olympics team in the 1990s, claimed 4-18 on Wednesday in Barbados against Bangladesh.
It was the best performance by an Australian bowler in a T20 International, as Australia recovered from a shocking start to post a 27-run win, dismissing Bangladesh for 114.
Nannes has taken seven wickets at the remarkable average of 8.42 to be the leading bowler in the tournament.
Australia’s win, coupled with a 34-run victory over Pakistan in St Lucia three days earlier, means Michael Clarke’s side have topped Group A and qualified for the Super Eights.
Australia will take on India on Friday (2330 AEST) and Sri Lanka on Sunday in Barbados and on Tuesday they face hosts West Indies in St Lucia in a bid to progress to the semi-finals.
Clarke was licking his lips ahead of the opportunity to unleash his quick bowlers on India.
“These conditions are really going to help our fast bowlers. There was a lot of pace and bounce in that wicket,” he said.
Clarke grinned when asked if his pacemen would deliver some chin music to the Indian batsmen.
“I don’t think I’ll have too much of a say. Our fast bowlers will bowl as much short stuff as they like,” he said.
“We cop it in the nets so we’ll definitely see it in the game.
“We’ve got some pace up our sleeve and I’m sure in these conditions we’ll be able to use it.”
Led by new-ball pair Shaun Tait and Nannes, Australia are suddenly in good shape to chase the world title despite being ranked outside the top eight seeds by tournament organisers.
“I’ve always thought bowlers win Twenty20 matches,” Clarke said.
“We have a very talented bowling squad.”
Victoria’s Nannes made his international debut with the Netherlands in June 2009 in the World T20, playing in two matches including the Dutch team’s win over England.
Australia, who had overlooked him, made a first-round exit and went looking for answers, deciding to take a step forward and start picking more T20 specialists like Nannes.
With fellow left-armer Mitchell Johnson unavailable because of an elbow infection, the responsibility fell upon Nannes, Tait (1-15) and Ryan Harris (1-28) to carry the pace attack on Wednesday on the bouncy Kensington Oval pitch.
Defending a total of 7-141, Australia were always in control with Nannes taking 3-6 from his first two overs from the Joel Garner End after Tait struck in the opening over.
Earlier, Australia had been in the mire at 6-65.
Clarke, who struggled for his 16 off 21 balls, was part of a procession of early wickets as Australia’s top six batsmen all failed to reach 20 amid what Clarke admitted was some poor shot selection.
Mike Hussey with an unbeaten 47 and 20-year-old Steven Smith, who scored a career-best 27, added a crucial partnership of 74.
Hussey also took three fine outfield catches and won the man-of-the-match award.
Spinners Smith (2-29) and David Hussey (2-8) took two wickets each.
Clarke said Johnson’s condition was improving and he hoped the paceman would be fit for Friday’s clash with India.
The Australian squad was due to have an optional training session on Thursday.
A team spokesman said Johnson wouldn’t take part in the session and would continue to have treatment for his elbow infection.
Watch Glenn Mitchell's wrap of the second Test, where Australia were victorious early on the final day, winning by 218 runs and taking a 2-0 series lead into the third Test in Perth.