Australian star all-rounder says it's important for him to continue performing at the same level
Shane Watson celebrates his half-century; Watson and Mike Hussey put together a 99-run stand for the second wicket.
Shane Watson won an unprecedented fourth successive Man of the Match award in ICC World Twenty20 competitions, and then said there was no question of letting the intensity slip because every game in the competition was important and it was vital to not let one’s guard down, especially in Twenty20 cricket.
“I know how important every game is to us and in a World Cup, there is no game where you can take your foot off the pedal,” said Watson after helping Australia annihilate South Africa, by eight wickets, at the R Premadasa Stadium on Sunday (September 30) evening. “I know how important it is for me to continue to do the simple keys and cues that I have got for both batting and bowling to be able to hopefully replicate my deeds in one game after another. In the end, it is a Twenty20 World Cup and every game that you play is so important to keep the momentum going or to try and get some momentum. At the moment, things are going really well for all of us as a team. We are really up for every game because we really want to show ourselves how good a Twenty20 team we are.”
Watson also expressed surprise that despite the quality of personnel South Africa had at its command, it continued to under-achieve in ICC events. “Every ICC tournament they go into, South Africa are always a very strong side. They are so unbelievably well balanced,” said Watson. “They have always got world-class fast bowlers, world-class batsmen and world-class spin bowlers. Even in the last World Cup, I thought that they had a huge chance to win the tournament with the quality of players they had and the same again in this tournament.
“Bringing Jacques Kallis back was always going to strengthen their Twenty20 team,” said Watson. “It is really surprising that they aren’t really able to dominate world cricket for the quality of players they have in all forms of the game. I don’t really know why they can’t seem to be able to perform at those big events over the last 10 or 15 years because with the players that they have, they should really be dominating.”
Australia had also crushed India by nine wickets on Friday night, and Watson was asked which of the two Super Eights wins was more satisfying. “I am going to sit on the fence here and say both,” said Watson. “There’s no doubt that beating India is a huge challenge, more so with just the quality of players that they have. They play a lot of Twenty20 cricket and certainly know how to play very good Twenty20 cricket. It’s always great to be able to beat them. South Africa is a world-class team. They have just got an amazing amount of talent. Going into this game, we knew we had to be at our best throughout to beat South Africa and it is certainly very satisfying as well.”
Xavier Doherty, the left-arm spinner, got his first go in the competition and finished with figures of 3 for 20, equalling the best figures by an Australian spinner in Twenty20 International cricket. “He knew it was going to be touch and go for him whether he was going to get a game at the start of the tournament,” said Watson. “We knew a left-arm orthodox spinner was going to be a very good option for the first few overs, especially with the right-handed batsmen that they have got. It’s awesome for us to know as a team that Xavier has come in and bowled beautifully. It gives us another wicket-taking option; he also kept the runs down, so it put a lot of pressure on the batsmen and meant they had to look to score from other bowlers, which means they are going to take risks. It’s a very exciting thing for our squad moving forward, knowing that these wickets are only going to become more and more spin-conducive.”