On Wednesday, Australian captain Aaron Finch stated that how effectively his team performs in the powerplays could determine the fate of their ICC T20 World Cup semifinal match against Pakistan, adding that negotiating fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi would be “crucial.”
Pakistan advanced to the semifinals from Group 2 with an undefeated record in the ‘Super 12’, with large wins over nearly every opponent except New Zealand, who pushed them. In Group 1 of the ‘Super 12’ stage, Australia, on the other hand, suffered a devastating defeat to arch-rivals England before making the last-four cut.
Reminded that Pakistan had been dominating their rivals and posting easy victories and whether the likes of David Warner and he would be able to hold up against Shaheen Afridi’s spell, Finch said, “I think what we’ve seen over the course of the tournament is how important the powerplay is for batting and bowling. I think the stats around the middle overs and the death overs are pretty similar throughout, but the powerplay definitely holds the key. Shaheen has been in really good form for Pakistan. Yeah, so that’s going to be a crucial battle no doubt.”
Skipper Finch said that Australia, during the course of the tournament, has strived to take the toss out of the equation, adding that it won’t make “too much of a difference” going forward.
“I think when it comes to finals it doesn’t make too much of a difference, to be honest. I believe getting runs on the board, especially in a final, can be really beneficial. We’ve talked about it. We’re confident that we can win if we happen to bat first or second,” said Finch on the eve of the semifinal clash.
Finch also said that Australia’s better record against the Babar Azam-led side in ICC knock-out rounds would count for nothing when the teams clash on Thursday evening.
“Well, I think that obviously, Pakistan has been in really good form. They’re 5-0 in this tournament. They’ve played some really good cricket throughout. I don’t think you can read too much into history. Honestly, they’re two different teams from what has played in the past, so you don’t look too deeply into that.
Finch further added that “In terms of the Pakistan spin, they’ve had some really good success obviously with Imad bowling in the powerplay predominantly and then Shadab throughout the middle overs they’ve been excellent. We’ve been really happy with how Adam Zampa has been going. He’s bowled brilliantly throughout this tournament. He’s taken big wickets at crucial times. He gets good players out. Maxwell has chipped in and done really well for the overs that he’s bowled. Yeah, that’s just a part of what’s going to come down to a really close battle, no doubt.”
(With IANS inputs)