HENRY: Australia scrape into semis with work still to do
Pakistan have a batting order spring loaded to attack from first ball to last but have become gun shy after getting knocked over by India cheaply.
Their picket fence approach through the middle overs was a tribute to the variation of Australia’s attack and their own insecurities.
Left arm is the word for Australia at the moment, with X Doherty and Mitchell Starc getting the new aspro.
With Shoab Malik, Umar Akmal, Boom Boom and Razzaq sweating up the dug out seats, Nasir Jamshed (who once spent time in prison when caught cheating on a year 12 exam) and the veteran Kamran Akmal decided to ‘have a look’ at the bowling.
20 over cricket doesn’t generally afford a settling in period of more than a ball or three, and although they got a move on in the middle overs with some long bombs, their early tardiness meant the team finished with 149 – which at the time assumed only modest but competitive proportions.
Doherty’s 4 overs for 27 and a wicket off his last ball was a portent of what was to come in the run chase.
In any form of the game, wickets need to be taken to slow the run flow.
Mitchell Starc is stopping runs and taking wickets. Bradd Hogg, so often a breakthrough merchant, is not taking the big wickets, nor bowling his quota.
Cummins went to the off break once too much and Razzaq airmailed a deposit to the sightscreen. He wisely went back to the vanilla flavoured Yorker in the 19th with a little more economy.
Then he the slower bouncer which Razzaq flayed vertically but not a lot horizontally. He finished the 19th with another precise slow bouncer, which is not an easy thing to bowl.
The sensitive new age fast bowler knows when and how to bowl slow ball. Cummins thinks it through so well for a young man and that is much of his strength at the moment.
The body has been frail but the mind is anything but.
I didn’t see the stats sheet but I reckon Shane Watson fielded every second ball! You just can’t keep him out of the game at the moment.
Maxwell and Hogg again totalled 4 overs between them for 35 runs, which was in stark contrast to Pakistan’s approach.
Pakistan, too, saw the advantages of slow bowling with the new ball and Warner shuffling across was palpably LBW to Hafeez to everyone except umpire Gould.
When Watson swept, and could you believe it, missed, this time umpire Gould was, fortunately for Pakistan, standing at square leg. Warner lost patience (can you write that about a 20/20 innings?) and Hafeez got the nod and the index finger.
8 from 13 balls.
Maybe the Australians were under instruction to just get the 112 needed to qualify for the semi finals rather than win the match. Poor thinking for a team on a winning roll.
Hafeezl replaced left arm slow Raza Hasan with right bower Saeed Ajmal, then moments of Test cricket followed as bat and pad were thrust distrustingly down the pitch in defiant defense.
With DRS in action Hussey M, would have departed LBW on a pad first strike and then on to bat. Batsmen do seem to get extraordinary benefit of the doubt in this shortest form.
Afridi followed Hafeez, Malik followed Ajmal, spin followed spin, and all in a considerable variety, high quality, and dizzying rotation.
Hussey called for new gloves after facing 15 balls.
Everything was sweaty.
Umpire Kettleborough got his man on the second attempt as captain George swung and missed. Cameron White had a chance to play the hero, he had time and a lowish total to chase to qualify.
Heart rates were rising at the same rate as the runs required. White didn’t get the job done. Glen Maxwell didn’t get the job done.
Mike Hussey left it until the 20th over to make the qualifying run. This was not the form Australia had brought in to the game, but maybe it was the loss ‘they had to have’.
Australia have so far persisted with pace and had some success, though it now seems strange that they have added the left arm slow of Dougherty to the XI and then, for two matches in a row, only bowled Hogg and Maxwell a total of 4 overs in each.
Has Captain George lost confidence in his spinners?
The selection seems counter-productive and still Cameron White struggles.
There is a better balanced team in the mix and Mickey Arthur and Captain Bailly will have some serious think tanking to do before the semi.
Geoff Lawson OAM is a former Australian cricketer and the former coach of the Pakistan cricket team. Nicknamed "Henry" after the Australian poet, Lawson was a fast bowler for New South Wales and Australia.