Australian skipper Aaron Finch said on Wednesday that how well his side does in the powerplays could well decide the outcome of the semifinal clash against Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup here, adding that negotiating pace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi would be “crucial”.
Pakistan have entered the semifinals from Group 2 on the back of an all-win record in the ‘Super 12’, with big victories against almost every opposition barring New Zealand, who stretched them. Australia, on the other hand, suffered a humiliating defeat against arch-rivals England in Group 1 of the ‘Super 12’ stage before they made the last-four grade.
Reminded that Pakistan had been dominating their rivals and posting easy victories, and whether the likes of David Warner and he would be able to hold up against Shaheen Afridi’s spell, Finch said, “I think what we’ve seen over the course of the tournament is how important the powerplay is for batting and bowling. I think the stats around the middle overs and the death overs are pretty similar throughout, but the powerplay definitely holds the key. Shaheen has been in really good form for Pakistan. Yeah, so that’s going to be a crucial battle no doubt.”
The skipper said that Australia, during the course of the tournament, have strived to take the toss out of the equation, adding that it won’t make “too much of a difference” going forward.
“I think when it comes to finals it doesn’t make too much of a difference to be honest. I believe getting runs on the board, especially in a final, can be really beneficial. We’ve talked about it. We’re confident that we can win if we happen to bat first or second,” said Finch on the eve of the semifinal clash.
Finch also said that Australia’s better record against the Babar Azam-led side in ICC knock-out rounds would count for nothing when the teams clash on Thursday evening.
“Well, I think that obviously Pakistan have been in really good form. They’re 5-0 in this tournament. They’ve played some really good cricket throughout. I don’t think you can read too much into the history. Honestly they’re two different teams to what have played in the past, so you don’t look too deeply into that.
“In terms of the Pakistan spin, they’ve had some really good success obviously with Imad bowling in the powerplay predominantly and then Shadab throughout the middle overs they’ve been excellent. We’ve been really happy with how Adam Zampa has been going. He’s bowled brilliantly throughout this tournament. He’s taken big wickets at crucial times. He gets good players out. Maxwell has chipped in and done really well for the overs that he’s bowled. Yeah, that’s just a part of what’s going to come down to a really close battle, no doubt,” added Finch.