Mike Hussey is the key to success in Sri Lanka
Australia cricketer Michael Hussey. AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI
When Australia is in the cricket trenches, my first warrior to pick would be Mike Hussey. Last night, Australia had to score a minimum 112 against Pakistan to cement a semi-finals berth in the World Twenty20 championship in Sri Lanka.
Chasing Pakistan’s 149, Australia was a very jittery 5-65. But Hussey was still there.
He dominated the crucial partnership of 45 with Matt Wade (13) – the sixth wicket falling at 110 with just seven deliveries left.
Pat Cummins went leg before first ball, leaving Mitchell Starc to join Hussey to see Australia though to 7-117 with Hussey unbeaten on a personal tournament high of 54.
The 37-year-old is still a spring chicken who fields brilliantly in the cordon or out in the country. And he’s no mug with the ball as a part-time seamer, either.
He’s a warrior alright.
So much so that Hussey has topped the tournament averages with 137 by being once out in four visits to the crease with scores of 10, 28*, 45*, and 54*.
He’s only hit nine boundaries, and four sixes. But his strike rate is 120.17, which means he’s kept the scoreboard ticking and the strike rotating.
The perfect 20-over game plan.
By comparison, Shane Watson has been in brutal batting mode to top the tournament run-getters with 242 at 60.50, heading the six-hitters with 15, and fifth in boundaries with 18.
With 162 of his runs into, or over, the fence, Watson hasn’t had to run too much. Just stand and deliver.
Another blaster, David Warner, has been hot and cold with 130 runs at 32.50, including 15 boundaries and just 5 sixes.
So much will depend on these three if Australia is to be the shock winner of this championship.
Pre-tournament the Australians were ranked a lowly ninth in the world.
But last night was their first loss in five matches. From here on in it’s sudden death, so Watson, Warner, and Hussey must fire together, or at least two of them.
To underline how vital these three are, only four Australian are among the top 50 run-getters in Sri Lanka.
Cameron White is the other one who is well down the list, but averaging 55 from just once out in three digs.
So it’s high time for skipper George Bailey (average 21), keeper Matt Wade (13), and 23-year-old Glenn Maxwell (8) to chip in with some meaningful runs.
But I’m backing Michael Edward Killeen Hussey to be the pivot to success, which would rank among the greatest Australian wins, in any format, in recent times.
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