Australia captain Aaron Finch said on Wednesday that dealing with Pakistan pace ace Shaheen Shah Afridi will be critical to their success in the Twenty20 World Cup semi-final.
To get past opponents in the Super 12 stage, the Aussies have relied on blazing starts from swashbuckling opener David Warner and Finch.
However, Shaheen stands in Australia’s way with his ability to pick early wickets, rattling opposing teams as Pakistan advanced to the semi-finals unbeaten with five wins.
“Shaheen has been in excellent form for Pakistan.” Yes, that will undoubtedly be a crucial battle,” Finch told reporters ahead of the knockout match in Dubai on Thursday.
Australia will look to master Shaheen during the crucial first six overs when the powerplay is activated and only two fielders are permitted outside the inner circle.
“I think what we’ve seen throughout the tournament is how important the powerplay is for batting and bowling,” the Australian captain added.
“I believe the stats around the middle and death overs are pretty similar throughout, but the powerplay is unquestionably the most important.”
Shaheen has six wickets in five games after igniting the tournament with his opening spell of 2-19, which included the wickets of Indian openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
With eight wickets and a best of 3-37, the tall left-arm quick has troubled Australia in four meetings.
In his first outing against the Aussies in a tri-series in Harare in July 2018, he dismissed both Finch and Glenn Maxwell.
But he’ll be up against an in-form Warner, who has 187 runs, including two half-centuries, and has been instrumental in Australia’s progress to the final four.
‘Win, bat first or second’
Finch, who has scores of 37, 44, and 40, praised Pakistan’s powerplay blitz with bat and ball but refused to weigh in on the favorites versus underdogs debate for this knockout game.
“Pakistan has played fantastic cricket.” “I think the way they’ve gone with the bat and ball in the powerplay has been really important to their success,” Finch said.
Toss and dew have played a significant role in all three UAE venues, with Dubai in particular favoring teams chasing a target.
The team batting second has won ten of the eleven matches, but Finch downplayed the significance of the toss in the knockout game.
“To be honest, I don’t think it makes much of a difference in finals,” Finch said.
“I believe that getting runs on the board, especially in a championship game, can be extremely beneficial.” We’ve discussed it. We’re confident that if we bat first or second, we’ll win.”