Pakistan give Australia wake-up call

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    D’Arcy Short’s T20I spot is in jeopardy after a string of stilted efforts, including a tortured innings of 28 from 34 balls last night as Australia lost by 45 runs against Pakistan.

    Australia will now play the world’s No.1 ranked T20I side Pakistan in the T20I tri-series final on Sunday in Harare, Zimbabwe.

    Today Australia face Zimbabwe in what amounts to a dead rubber, with Zimbabwe out of the running for the final after losing all three of their matches in this series so far.

    Last night Pakistan reminded Australia why they’re the top-ranked T20I team with a clinical display with both bat and ball.

    Pakistan batted first on a somewhat slow deck and were highly impressive in making an above-par score of 7-194.

    That fine total was built on a bludgeoning knock of 73 from 42 balls by opener Fakhar Zaman, the same man who tore out India’s heart in last year’s Champions Trophy with a scorching innings of 114 from 106 deliveries.

    After bowling well in the first two matches of this tri-series Australia struggled with the ball last night from the very start of the match.

    Pakistan got off to a flyer at 1-40 from four overs as opening bowlers Billy Stanlake and Jhye Richardson struggled to find the right length.

    Australia’s support bowlers had similar issues and at no point did the tourists feel truly in control with the ball. A late cameo of 37no from 18 balls by Asaf Ali tipped Pakistan over to a very good total.

    Australia’s hopes of chasing down this sizeable score once more rested on captain Aaron Finch, who has been in blazing form. Finch smashed a record-breaking 172 from 76 balls in Australia’s previous match against Zimbabwe.

    But last night he was undone in the fourth over for 16 by a sensational piece of bowling by Pakistan’s latest pace prodigy – 18-year-old Shaheen Afridi.

    The youngster troubled all of the Aussie batsmen during his spell of 3-37. When he trapped Australian wildcard Glenn Maxwell leg-before-wicket, to reduce the tourists to 3-49 after 6.5 overs, the match was almost over.

    Short was still battling at the other end, having a hard time timing the ball whether against pace or spin. But he has looked particularly befuddled against slow bowlers over the past month, as he was during the last IPL, where he was dropped by the Rajastan Royals after a string of failures.

    In Short’s four T20I innings for Australia in the past fortnight he has made 105 runs. The problem is that those runs have come at a glacial strike rate of 102, with his slow scoring tightly linked to his lack of comfort opposed to spin.

    The saving grace for Short is that Australia have no reserve batsmen in their squad so he may well retain his place today and for the final against Pakistan on Sunday. Australia will need to improve greatly upon yesterday’s performance if they are to win the series decider.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (44)

    • Roar Rookie

      July 6th 2018 @ 7:45am
      Roger said | July 6th 2018 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      Surely Khawaja MUST replace him? 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Roar Guru

        July 6th 2018 @ 8:41am
        JamesH said | July 6th 2018 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        He’s not in the squad. And even if he was, what has he done to show he will perform any better against Pakistan’s spinners?

        • July 6th 2018 @ 8:58am
          Christo the Daddyo said | July 6th 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

          Check his recent batting stats. Much of which has been against slow bowling. He’s in good form.

          • Roar Guru

            July 6th 2018 @ 10:03am
            Matt H said | July 6th 2018 @ 10:03am | ! Report

            Slow bowling in England. See how well the English players handled the Indian spinners? I would suggest the spin landscape in English domestic cricket is much like ours in Australia. Khawaja dominates there too.

            • July 6th 2018 @ 10:12am
              Krishna Singh said | July 6th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

              Cummon lets give a khawaja credit, we make too many excuses all time with him, time to stop. I am sure Australia playing really good cricket vs Zimbabwe and final game against Pakistan
              The problem behind this defeat is that Australia don’t try their all batting order and now they know which place suits which player

              • Roar Guru

                July 6th 2018 @ 11:06am
                Matt H said | July 6th 2018 @ 11:06am | ! Report

                Don’t get me wrong I like Khawaja. He should be first picked for the tests, with Smith and Warner out. He should also be given another run in ODI’s and T20’s until Warner returns, to see if he can translate his domestic form into the international arena.

                But don’t try to tell me that he has suddenly become any more competent against spin because he has mastered some county trundlers.

                Australian batsmen as a group are weak against quality spin in foreign conditions and Khawaja is no exception.

                And his omission is not a scandal. Our weaknesses have not been in the top order, where Khawaja plays, but in the middle order, where our options and very limited.

              • July 6th 2018 @ 3:51pm
                George said | July 6th 2018 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

                Matt our top order struggled badly in the one day series in England, Khawaja would have been priceless there. And he just hasn’t done well against spin in county but also in South Africa where he handled mahraj with ease in tough spinning conditions. I Agree with Krishna that we need to stop making excuses on him

              • July 6th 2018 @ 9:15pm
                BrainsTrust said | July 6th 2018 @ 9:15pm | ! Report

                Sensible comments George

        • July 6th 2018 @ 9:02am
          KenoathCarnt said | July 6th 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

          Khawaja only needs to face 20 balls in the powerplay make an easy 35 runs and job done. If they want to bring on spin let Finch face it and destroy that spinner with boundary restrictions like he has done before.

          • July 6th 2018 @ 9:22am
            BrainsTrust said | July 6th 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

            Seriously throw that Short out..Im.sure better players arr there waiting for the opportunities..He is taking everything for granted, time for khawaja who has shown recently how good he is playing spin and like keneotcarnt said he is a magician in the power plays, short in his last game failed to get a 50 and almost batted all innings whereas finch got 170, amazing how is he still there.

      • July 6th 2018 @ 11:22am
        JayG said | July 6th 2018 @ 11:22am | ! Report

        Exactly what I was thinking. While we’re at it, maybe we can clone him and replace a few other players with him too 😀

        • Roar Rookie

          July 6th 2018 @ 2:18pm
          Roger said | July 6th 2018 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

          Thank God you came along Jay, for awhile I thought I’d woken up in an alternate universe where no one had a sense of humour ☺

          P.S. or any sense 💰

          • July 7th 2018 @ 7:02am
            JayG said | July 7th 2018 @ 7:02am | ! Report

            Unfortunately, the way the Roar comments section has been lately, I could not tell if you were being sarcastic or not.. 🙂

            As a relatively new Roarer, has everybody suddenly turned into a Khawaja fan or is something amiss?

    • July 6th 2018 @ 7:52am
      KenoathCarnt said | July 6th 2018 @ 7:52am | ! Report

      Prefered line up until injured players return

      Khawaja
      Finch
      Burns
      Cooper
      Turner
      Maxwell/Christian
      Carey
      Agar
      Tye
      Stanlake
      Tremain

      • July 6th 2018 @ 9:23am
        BrainsTrust said | July 6th 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        Short is playing test innings in t20’s another steve smith in the making. Carey desrves to bat up the order he has proved he is not just a BBL bully like short and Head. Khawaja has to come into calculations soon surely

        • July 6th 2018 @ 9:33am
          KenoathCarnt said | July 6th 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

          Yea definetely agree. I feel Short was a cameo player in the BBL that reached a stunning spell of form but that is about it. Khawaja has consistently performed again and again in BBL and was the best Aus player in the T20 WC. I guess it relates to the classic saying “form is temporary, but class is permanent” The best thing about Khawaja is how high a strike rate he can get with playing quite safe effective strokes.

          • July 6th 2018 @ 10:04am
            Krishna Singh said | July 6th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

            This what happens when we pick on one good season, short had one good BBL but no matador cup runs or shield runs, khawaja score strong for 4-5 consistent seasons, thats how you pick good player

      • Roar Guru

        July 6th 2018 @ 10:04am
        Matt H said | July 6th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        Well Cooper was a bolt from the blue.

        • July 6th 2018 @ 5:56pm
          KenoathCarnt said | July 6th 2018 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

          Yes Cooper is left field but in that position he has been quite solid for Melbourne. He has tricky shots that manouver the field with a good strike rate and consistency. I know he played for the Netherlands but I think he can still play for Aus.

    • July 6th 2018 @ 8:12am
      Peter said | July 6th 2018 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      Short form international cricket is now just a marginalised Pay TV only sport in Australia. Anyhow, go Australia.

      • Roar Guru

        July 6th 2018 @ 10:05am
        Matt H said | July 6th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        Not T20, just ODI’s

    • July 6th 2018 @ 8:24am
      Paul said | July 6th 2018 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      So Australia flogged Pakistan in one game where Stanlake ripped it into them then Pakistan returned serve. It simply shows how any result is possible because of the nature of short form cricket.

      Glad to see you mentioned the invaluable contributions by Maxwell this game, going for 10 an over with the ball and another outstanding contribution with the bat. If anyone deserves to go, it got to be this guy. He’s not a wildcard, he’s a liability.

      • Roar Guru

        July 6th 2018 @ 8:43am
        JamesH said | July 6th 2018 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        He was man of the freaking series last time we played a T20I tournament. Honestly, you start with a perfectly sensible, rational comment and then descend into madness.

        • July 6th 2018 @ 9:24am
          BrainsTrust said | July 6th 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

          Maxwell needs to do something soon, too much talent there not to deliver

        • July 6th 2018 @ 9:48am
          Paul said | July 6th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

          nothing mad about this comment. This guy is a senior member of this squad and has been for a while. He needs to perform consistently well, not inconsistently. In this game, Australia was 2 down and he had a chance to do something to win the game. 8 balls later he’s gone. That’s simply bad cricket from a highly talented player and his problem is, he does this sort of thing way too often.

          • July 6th 2018 @ 10:13am
            Krishna Singh said | July 6th 2018 @ 10:13am | ! Report

            Maxwell play too often on just talent alone, he remind me very much afridi, crowd loves them but they inconsistent too much

            • July 6th 2018 @ 11:56am
              Paul said | July 6th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

              you’re right Krishna, Maxwell and Afridi are very much the same, tons of talent that is not used often enough.

          • July 6th 2018 @ 11:09am
            Ben said | July 6th 2018 @ 11:09am | ! Report

            Finch is as much to blame if not more for not getting short to bat lower down the order.
            Chasing such a total they needed to get get a good start.
            Maxwell got a wicket and was more economical than agars 13.5 run rate and no wicket.
            He was similar to stoinis and should be bowled more.
            He was player of the tri series against England and New Zealand.
            Let’s leave it to the game on Sunday to judge.

            • July 6th 2018 @ 11:27am
              Krishna Singh said | July 6th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

              Not good game for finch captain, should bat first when toss win, and why open with short when you know he slow

          • July 6th 2018 @ 2:37pm
            BurgyGreen said | July 6th 2018 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

            This is crazy. Maxwell’s T20I record is amazing. No one on the planet makes runs every game, but Maxwell cops it every single time he makes a low score and gets no praise when he does well other than “you should be doing this every single game”.

            • July 6th 2018 @ 5:41pm
              Simoc said | July 6th 2018 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

              Except Burgy Green that Maxwell spent the whole IPL failing abysmally. He was hopeless. It has been a serious form loss. He’ll be lucky to get invited back as will Darcy Short who seems to be in over his head at the moment.
              Without the best players available we need the others in Finch like form. Unfortunately Finch is having to do it all himself.

              Maxwell needs to clean up his act eg shave off the shaggy beard and make a fresh start. He bats as bad as he looks these days.

              • July 6th 2018 @ 7:31pm
                BurgyGreen said | July 6th 2018 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

                Frankly the IPL doesn’t matter. He was man of the series in his last T20 series for Australia.

              • July 6th 2018 @ 9:41pm
                tim said | July 6th 2018 @ 9:41pm | ! Report

                Does he also need a good dose of military service?

    • Roar Guru

      July 6th 2018 @ 10:10am
      Matt H said | July 6th 2018 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      Well this showed that Finch is papering over the cracks at the moment.

      Short has had a bit of a run now and we can all see that the step up in class from BBL is not small. He is struggling to score at a decent pace, so it’s time to replace him. I would move him down the order for the final even if we have no reserve batsmen. Open with Head or Carey and move Short down the order. If the top order get going he might not even be required.

      But Short is not alone. Apart from Finch and Carey, pretty much everyone has struggled. So let’s open with those two.

      One of the problems is that we won the first two games so easily, that the middle order didn’t even get a bat. Head faced 20 balls in the first game and that is it for everyone. So it’s hardly surprising that some were rusty. Hopefully Head, Maxwell and Stoinis will be better for the run (although Stoinis’ form trough has been terrible and long)

      Chris Lynn would be handy right about now.

      • July 6th 2018 @ 10:23am
        Krishna Singh said | July 6th 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

        For too long we accepting mediocre perfomance from short, head and stonis. Why shaun marsh and khawaja not in this team, they better batsman. Pak bowling is way more consistently good than ours & Aus batting hinges on Finch atm. Short is frustrating and not finding boundaries. Could be a big over away fom clicking into form. Maxi looked OK during his short stay, Head didn’t. Given khawaja not there in squad then get Carey up the order, for sure but we missing khawaja at opener

    • July 6th 2018 @ 10:36am
      Gordon Smith said | July 6th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

      Someone please e in to me how Maddison got selected

      • July 6th 2018 @ 10:51am
        Krishna Singh said | July 6th 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

        Maddinson had good matador cup, top scorer with khawaja and shaun marsh. Also looking at Finch’s picture on the link https://www.cricket.com.au/news/match-report/zimbabwe-pakistan-t20-tri-series-game-four-video-highlights-live-scores-australia/2018-07-04. He looks overweight to me, i know he not slow on field but he need to be fitter to play at top level, overweight not acceptable. For weight look shaun marsh, he got fitter last few years and now is one of more fitter blokes in side, great role model and credit to langer for getting this done, langer amazing on fitness and very much fit himself too even in very old age

        • July 6th 2018 @ 11:00am
          BrainsTrust said | July 6th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

          He is quick on the field but yeah agreed, anyone at this level can’t have a tummy hanging out :). Hopefully finch sorts this out soon though he reminds me of Hughes and Boonie who i both adored.

          • July 6th 2018 @ 3:49pm
            George said | July 6th 2018 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

            Langer is strong on fitness, he will fix this

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