KARACHI: Pakistan will face off against Australia late today in their second match of Group A at the Beausejour Stadium in the West Indies in their quest to defend the Twenty20 crown.
Although champions of the format in lieu of being finalists in 2007 and winners in 2009, this particular showdown is different in light of the thumping whitewash that Pakistan got across all formats of the game while touring Australia in late 2009/early 2010. Pakistan will not only be missing key players, they will also be at a psychological disadvantage and pressure to win will be intense.
“I’ve seen the change from Australia to Pakistan, the boys have really started responding,” said a positive Pakistan coach Waqar Younis, who had the privilege of being appointed coach, right after the whitewash – which included a Twenty20 as well – while touring the oppostion they face today. Despite that nightmare from 2009, Younis believes that a different Pakistan will be putting up their title defence. “In Australia, the boys were a little laid back, not really bothered, I think they’ve just started,” he said.
“They have really started pushing themselves.” Clarke wary of Pakistan pitfalls Australian captain Michael Clarke is expecting a stern challenge from the defending champions, despite all the upheavals that Pakistan have been through since the two teams last clashed. Clarke, who is leading Australia now that Ricky Ponting has opted out of Twenty20 internationals, said, “I think Pakistan are very strong in this format of the game.” Australia were involved in a shock result – as were Pakistan – even before the tournament proper started, after losing a warm-up match by one run to outsiders Zimbabwe this week.
Australia also fell at the first hurdle in last year’s World Twenty20 in England after defeats by the West Indies and Sri Lanka. Aussies to watch out for Most of their players are still learning how to master the tactics, although they have found promise in some who have adapted well to the format. Experience, something which Pakistan will lack compared to last time, will be provided by Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson in the Australian squad while the typical Twenty20 flair will be provided by Hussey, David Warner, Shaun Tait, Cameron White and Dirk Nannes.