Australian captain admits that his team is suspect against quality spin and that the batsmen were caught out again against Pakistan
George Bailey admitted that Australia’s old failing, weakness against quality spin, was exposed by Pakistan in the ICC World Twenty20 2012 clash on Tuesday (October 2) evening.
Chasing Pakistan’s 149 for 6, Australia was tied down by 18 overs of high class spin and was restricted to 117 for 7, a 32-run humbling, but enough to still go through to the semi-final.
“We certainly worked on it (playing spin),” said Bailey. “I don’t think it’s any secret that we have had some deficiencies playing spin over the years. That showed tonight but Pakistan played a very tactically shrewd game. We have worked on spin and we have some very good players of spin. We managed to beat Pakistan in Dubai recently. We can overcome it, but probably it was our shortcoming tonight.”
Bailey was asked if this wasn’t an embarrassing way to reach the semi-final. “I don’t know. You can call it embarrassing if you want, that’s the nature of the game I think,” replied Bailey. “If you take a look at all the results of the tournament, all the teams have had a game like that at some stage.”
Admitting that Pakistan had outplayed his team in all disciplines, Bailey said, “They probably outdid us in all three departments, to be honest. We dropped (Nasir) Jamshed and that made a fair difference. They would have been three for 15, they would have been on the back foot at that stage. They took their catches tonight. Looking at that score, it was probably a par score, but today was the first time that I noticed the wicket being noticeably slower since the start of the tournament.”
Shane Watson had his first batting failure of the competition and it resulted in Australia posting its lowest completed total. “I don’t know (if the team is over-reliant on Watson),” said Bailey. “If he fails in the next game and we lose, then you can say yes. If he doesn’t and then if we still win, we can say no. That’s no more so than any other team are on their best players. We rely on Mike Hussey, we rely on Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Starc. No doubt, he is an outstanding player and when he does well we have a good chance of winning the game. That’s because he is so good and that’s how he plays. Whether we are over-dependent on him, I am not too sure.”
Australia’s semi-final opponent will be either Sri Lanka or the West Indies, and Bailey said it really didn’t make any difference which team his side will run into. “No fuss,” said Bailey. “It doesn’t matter. Once you get to the knockout stage, I assume that every team is in with a chance to win the tournament. You are happy to play any opposition.”
Australia did meet the West Indies in Group B earlier, winning by 17 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method though the West Indies did amass 191. “It’s going to be a good clash, though we are not too sure whether we are going to play them as yet,” said Bailey. “We didn’t probably bowl as well as we would have liked in the first game we played against them. Certainly for their confidence, they have had a couple of tight games and they have come through and their confidence will be good. That’s when the West Indies are most dangerous – when they are confident and relaxed.”
The Australian middle-order has hardly had a hit in the tournament, so dominant have Watson and Warner been, but Bailey refused to use that as an excuse for his team’s poor batting display. “Everyone was prepared well, the guys are getting starts,” said Bailey. “The whole thing about Twenty20 cricket is momentum. Probably at the end of the first six overs, we were a long way behind. We were caught between whether we should go for the target or should we try and go for 112. As a group, we could have communicated a bit better on that.”