Australia captain stresses on the importance of starting the Super Eights on a strong note
India and Australia have played out some fantastic cricket matches across all formats over the last several years, and another chapter in one of cricket’s more fascinating rivalries will be played out at the R Premadasa Stadium on Friday (September 28) night.
The stage is the ICC World Twenty20 2012, the occasion the opening match for both teams in Group 2 of the Super Eights.
George Bailey, Australia’s captain, admitted that flair was never in short supply in India-Australia contests, but dismissed suggestions that India’s disastrous tour of Australia, where it lost the Test series 0-4, would have any bearing on the outcome of this match.
“Yeah, flair will be there, that’s the nature of the game,” said Bailey on Thursday afternoon. “I think you need that bit of flair to perform and execute your plans but once the game gets started, the battle is on. Then it all depends on flair, the performances, about who has got the X factor that will win the game.”
“But that Test series and the one-day matches that followed will not hold any relevance now,” added Bailey. “We are proud of the record we have at home. I always thought that the conditions and the way India has played Twenty20 over the last few years, if anyone is tough then it is certainly them.”
Bailey stressed the need for his team to begin strongly. “In terms of Twenty20, in general it is about momentum and confidence,” said Bailey. “If we can win that first game and get three on the trot, get our plans in order, that will be big. All four teams have topped their groups and we need to feel good about the way we are playing. You need to win two out of three to get going.”
“It is a tough group but so is the other group. It is tough no doubt from here on,” said Bailey. “Without being disrespectful to the earlier stage, this is the start of the tournament proper. We got to make sure we go out and perform because one slip-up and a loss of confidence can really hurt you. Every game is tough but you wouldn’t want to play Sri Lanka or the West Indies on the other side.”
Shane Watson has been the Man of the Match in both of Australia’s victories, but Bailey disagreed that his team was over-reliant on the all-rounder. “I don’t know whether you can call it over-dependence on Watson just because he has performed well in both the games,” said Bailey. “He is a very good player, he is good with the ball and he is an outstanding batsman. He is one of the players that opposition teams fear when they run into him. At the moment, one of his strengths is his consistency, so he is dependable but I am not sure if we are over-dependent on him.
“Watson and (David) Warner are able to provide us an urgent start. There is no doubt that they are key wickets because they can take the game away. I guess they are crucial, but we are not at a stage where the rest of us are just making up the numbers.”
Australia’s lower middle-order hasn’t had enough game-time, what with victory against Ireland achieved by seven wickets and only one wicket lost in the 17-run win, on the Duckworth-Lewis method, against the West Indies. “The middle-order is very happy,” said Bailey. “I know it’s a tough one now but you’ve just got to prepare and train well. It’s not that any of these guys haven’t played a lot. In fact, we have played a lot against the guys we are coming up against. Whenever you get the opportunity to perform, you make sure you are ready to go.”