01 October 2012 - 04:13pm IST
by R Kaushik in Colombo
Australia has had a phenomenal run in the ICC World Twenty20 2012. Not only is it the only unbeaten team in the competition but it has also won all its four matches to date with great comfort, and is almost assured of a semi-final berth going into its last Group 2 Super Eights clash on Tuesday (October 2) afternoon.
Its opponent is Pakistan, which needs a win of its own to keep its aspirations alive. And though his team went down 1-2 to Pakistan in a three-match Twenty20 International series in the UAE recently, George Bailey said revenge was not even on Australia’s radar.
“I am not too fussed about settling scores,” said Bailey. “What we are keen to do is continue playing good cricket. There’s no doubt that in this format, momentum and confidence are really big factors. We were really confident going into the game against South Africa just on the back of how well we were playing, so it will be nice to play well against Pakistan just to keep that going.”
If Pakistan had hoped for respite from Shane Watson’s blitzkrieg, it was in for a reality check with Bailey making it clear that there was no chance of the in-form all-rounder being rested. “Everyone prepares as well as they can, to play that match and that match-winning knock,” he said. “So Watto will continue to do it and full credit to him. The way we bowled at the beginning (against South Africa), I thought Xavier Doherty would get man of the match but then Watto comes out and bats, so you can’t keep him out of the game. ”
He has played pretty awesome, hasn’t he? I am running out of ideas to describe his performances but he has been so consistent and consistently awesome. And it’s not as though he is almost only impressive with the bat, he did bowl well at the start. He really constructed his innings, you lose that sometimes in T20 cricket and with him I just know that he has the presence of mind to do that. He was outstanding.”
Australia will again be up against Saeed Ajmal, who tied them up in knots in the UAE. “I don’t know if you can really decode him, it’s a real challenge,” Bailey conceded. “No doubt he is going to be the key throughout the rest of the tournament, and probably more and more so. We have got some thoughts and some ideas, but he is going to be a challenge, I am sure.”
Australia started the tournament ranked No. 9 in the world in the ICC Twenty20 rankings, but has since worked its way to No. 6. Bailey was asked what more Australia could do to climb the rung even higher. “I am not sure if anyone’s got an answer for that yet,” he said. “The other thing about these tournaments is that it (the rankings) doesn’t really matter, does it? You don’t come in ranked No. 1 and start none for 40 or if you are ranked No. 14, you don’t start two down! It’s just a number. I don’t think our Twenty20 cricket has been great over a long period of time, but it’s about being more consistent.
“I am a firm believer that the biggest challenge has been trying to get a more stable base of personnel, so not change the team too often, not change the roles of the guys within the team. And that’s what we base our Test and one-day teams on, it’s no different in Twenty20. You want to have guys going out with that freedom and the knowledge of what their roles are.”