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In a high-pressure game with chances of elimination, Pakistan will need their impact batsmen to fire. -File photo

Match: Pakistan vs Australia, 22nd match of the ICC World Twenty20.

Venue: R Premadasa Cricket Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 2, 2012. 13:00 PST / 10:00 GMT

Overall Rivalry: Leading; Pakistan 6 wins Australia 4 wins

Momentum in the last five matches: Dominance; Pakistan 4 wins, Australia 1 win

Weather Report: Partly cloudy with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain. High of 30 Celsius is expected. Winds will range from15 to 20 mph with a 20% chance of rain.

 22 Yard Report: This is the 11th game that will be played at this ground since the tournament officially kicked off. There is only so much work that the curator can do on the surface. So far a good job has been done by keeping it dry and yet not letting it crack too much. Though, as the pitch starts resembling a fifth day Test square, it should aid the spinners more.  Both teams comfortably chased down totals here on Sunday and it will be interesting to see if the toss-winning captain decides to bat first again. There are always chances of rain during this time of the year in Sri Lanka that might play a role in the drama that unfolds.

Game On: From the top of the world to a few feet under the ground, all it takes are a few bad overs and a couple of quick fall of wickets. The in-form Pakistani team went into their game against India as one of the favourites to win the tournament; they have come out of it with the possibility of now being knocked out.

Right from their last win against Pakistan in the UAE, Australia have looked in peerless form. Their top order has been exquisite but their batting has yet to be tested.  Pakistan’s best chance to win will be if they are able to get through the top four Australian batsmen in relatively quick time. Pakistani spinners have held a slight psychological edge against the Aussies batsmen in recent times and will look to exploit it further.

Mohammad Hafeez was being touted as Pakistan’s next captain in all forms of the game after a successful series win versus Australia and a good start to the World T20 campaign. Things can take a u-turn very fast as they often do in Pakistan; the critics have been very fast to highlight Hafeez’s incapacity of handling pressure and hiding face from adversary. His slow start to the innings on Sunday set the tone for the rest of the evening and he did not appear with the ball until the 13th over, by the time the match was all but over.

Hafeez will have to turn up with an inspirational performance and lead from the front. If he manages to lead his team to the semi-finals, few will talk about his nervous 13 runs that took an agonising 25 balls against bitter rivals India.

Australia are already through to the next stage unless they lose this game by a huge margin and India beat South Africa in equally convincing fashion. In contrast, Pakistan’s road to the next round is a bit more complicated and depends on the result of both games played on Tuesday. The other game is between India and South Africa.

Scenario 1, Pakistan and South Africa win: Pakistan and Australia will go through by virtue of more points.

Scenario 2, Pakistan and India win: Whichever team wins with a bigger margin is likely to go through with a higher Net Run Rate (NRR).

Scenario 3, Australia and South Africa win: Pakistan, South Africa and India will be tied on points and it will boil down to who has a better NRR. At the moment Pakistan is marginally ahead, followed by India and South Africa.

Scenario 4, Australia and India win: Australia and India will go through by virtue of more points.

South Africa and India will have a defined target that they will have to achieve in order to go through to the next stage. If Pakistan lose, South Africa will know what margin they need to beat India by, in order to qualify and India will be aware of the losing leverage they have in order to go through. If Pakistan wins, India will again have a calculated target for qualification; the number of overs they need to chase a total or the runs they have to defend in order to qualify. Earlier this year, Virat Kohli led India to a stunning qualifying game in similar circumstances in the summer Down Under.

Game Changer: If this were a high profile football competition, both games on Tuesday would have probably been played at the same time in order to nullify any advantage to the team playing second. In this case South Africa and India will benefit by playing second. Pakistan might win and still not qualify or can lose and yet play the semi-finals. Either way, their fate will be decided in the game that they can only be bystanders in, while India and South Africa will have the luxury to fight it out with defined targets.

Pre-Game Talk: "I think we all knew exactly what conditions we were going to have. The conditions in Dubai were brilliant practice because what we had there was very similar to what we have here,” Shane Watson knows he is playing the same opposition in similar conditions he did last month.

"We need to rethink a few things, that's for sure, and that will be done," Dav Whatmore signals a possible change in strategy.

Last XI Fielded Australians:  David Warner, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Cameron White, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell,  Matthew Wade (wk),  Brad Hogg, Pat Cummins,  Mitchell Starc,  Xavier Doherty

Last XI Fielded Pakistanis:  Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal (wk), Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Arafat, Raza Hasan, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal.

Possible Changes: Australia played with two specialist spinners in their previous game with excellent results. With the pitch getting older, they are likely to field the same team. Pakistan has not chopped and changed too much in the tournament but a lot of questions will be asked if they return home with Abdul Razak not having played a single game. In a team full of all-rounders, the veteran cricketer has found it difficult to get a spot for himself.

Final Words:  Australians are seldom complacent and are expected to play the game as hard as they normally do. Pakistan will have to go into this match without worrying about the match to follow. In a high-pressure game with chances of elimination, Pakistan cannot depend on the likes of Umar Gul to wallop sixes and will need one of their impact batsmen to fire.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (30)

AllTheBest!
October 2, 2012 7:25 am
I'm with you Optimist, and for the "Lotay" supporters i'd just need somethign to nag and winge about, grow up ladies!!
mahbub
October 2, 2012 7:37 am
Hafiz should play positive. Must need to play razzak
Abdul Hasan
October 2, 2012 9:36 am
Why has the Indian Cricket Council (ICC) kept Indian and South Africas match last? Such a big disadvantage for Pakistan. They should have had both games at the same time, even if it meant different cities and different grounds.. travel inconveniance... ICC with their commercial mindset are compromising on the quality of the sport. They should look at football how both games are played at the same time. Great Point Shaan Agha !! Have not read this in any other article about the Matches today,
cricket_fan
October 1, 2012 10:15 pm
Pak will have to score atleast 180 or restrict aussies to 150 or less to have a sporting chance of winning.
Isra
October 1, 2012 10:03 pm
Bating first will be the key to win. Has that not been the case so far ?
Nasser Ali Khan
October 2, 2012 8:54 am
Razzaq is nearly another Afridi. On average, he fails 4 times and succeeds only once. But when he bats, he is far superior to Afridi, with clean and flatter hits. He should be brought in as Pakistan has only 1 batsman and 1 bowler clicking so far in the tournament.
Ijaz Mir
October 2, 2012 12:41 am
Chances to play in semi final are very dim. If both matches wash out by rain Pakistan will go through by virtue of run rate, Chances of rain are 20%. Now all Pakistani fans must pray and do a rain dance.
liaquat
October 2, 2012 12:41 am
I agree, drop Afridi and Gul. We need more a batsman than showboating. Give chance to Razzak and shafiq,result will be more better playing against Australia with same team who surrendered and put up a sorry face aginst India. Good luck if some one think and act rationally to put up a fighting game
Rao
October 1, 2012 9:35 pm
Hafeez should keep rotating one bowler from one end, and give some surprises to Australians. If He can give 1 to 2 overs to Nasir Jamshed, Umar Akmal and Imran Nazir then this would be quite a shocking surprise to Australians. I am sure Aussies might have spent hours on reviewing videos of Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul, and they will be ready for them.
Ajamal
October 2, 2012 7:32 am
Totally agree. Pakistan need to get out of past and play based on present form of each player.
Zahid
October 1, 2012 9:50 pm
One can easily feel the pressure of this do or die encounter. Pakistan usually cracks under such pressure and that too with unfathomable embarrassment. I am more prayful than optimist for this match. Zahid Raza
Muhammad Fuad Bangash
October 2, 2012 1:03 am
Very nice article, Sir. Saved me some heartburn from reading cricinfo :)
Aditya
October 1, 2012 9:33 pm
That is why I love cricket...
Iqbal
October 2, 2012 3:49 am
Kohli's picture in times of india looks like he is furious not calm. Hafeez made first mistake by taking match against india just as another match and not taking pressure for a must win against india Not only his captaincy is in trouble also his selection based on his batting performance if his bowling was not good.I will agree to selecting razaq and asad even if we play him late or as a collapse insurance.
Rajib
October 2, 2012 2:25 am
Today pakistan cannt win without Abdul Razzaq replace on yasir arafat.
Kash
October 2, 2012 7:15 am
Agree, They shuold have picked Hammad Azam
M Sajid
October 1, 2012 10:40 pm
Abdul Razzaq should be included and Shoaib Malik exluded.
Imtiaz
October 2, 2012 4:38 am
If prayers are the criteria for winning, we cannot win as we just in match against India and two consecative Olympics without a single medal.If wishes were horses, begger would ride them. Only by playing better on the day we can win with or without Razzaq but his inclusion will help.
M Faisal Khan
October 2, 2012 5:28 am
Abdul Razzak should play in place of Shoaib Malik. And he should be send higher in the order.
kashif
October 2, 2012 5:46 am
Let see...how Aussi grills Pakistan today......I wish I am wrong...but this is too good to be true.....there is no need to be emotional....batting first or not Pakistan will be wrapped up plus minus 5 runs of 130....Pakistani player don't play hard they just paly for the heck of it...
impala
October 1, 2012 11:36 pm
I agree Hafeez should have shown a little aggression but then at the same time circumstances may not have been conducive then. What Razzak achieved in the past was in the past. We are also playing in the past with Afridi. No room for either. The team has to move on with younger talent.
sam
October 2, 2012 4:12 am
Pakistan always depends on individual batting display. They always suffering from batting failure at present also were in past. The Umar Akmal is the only consistent batsmen. Others are not sure. Imran Nazir should bit watchful of first couple of overs. Shahid Afridi should re think about his shot selection. The shot he played against india is useless. Should have played downly. he knows that he is not good touch with the bat. Actually, Pakistanis feel pressure when they play vs india. India responds well against the pressure. Pakistan should play their normal game against india. The body language of paki plays shows that how much theyt are under pressure is not good sign.
a khan
October 1, 2012 10:36 pm
hafeez & co missed perfect opportunity to qualify for the semi finals and now at this stage when australia on top of their form and pakistani team way dwon underpressure its extremely difficult for them to bounce back cause they can not perform under such conditions, unless a miracle happens now.
renish
October 2, 2012 12:51 am
pakistan will loose the match and india will win today
Kash
October 2, 2012 7:10 am
I dont think they will play Asad Shafiq in crunch game. Razzaq for Arafat and I beleive they will drop Gul for Sami.
Imran
October 2, 2012 7:18 am
I think imran Nazir should be replaced with Asad and Razzaq should be put in place of Yasir Arafat to more strengthen pakistani batting line up. They are more than good with ball so they don't need to worry about as pakistani spinners can make big difference.
ahmed
October 1, 2012 11:14 pm
Only God from heaven can put this team of under achievers get to the next level...if Umar Gut can't do with bat? I have another idea why not play two guys who know how to score runs and one of them has won match single hand-idly ...No Australian players it Razaq and Shafeeq both of them know how to bat unlike Kamran, Nasir and Yasir. Pakistan has zero change without Asad and Razaq in the line up...
optimist
October 2, 2012 2:15 am
Pakistan will win this match as they are expected to lose. Pakistan spin is so good and if utilized propertly it can create problems for Australian batsmen. Pakistan must make two changes. Bring in Asad Shafiq in place of Yasir Arafat and Abdul Razzak in place of Umar Gul.
javaid
October 2, 2012 2:12 am
Pakistan Players are leaving from Sri Lanka by evening flight tonight. If they can not beat India how come they will win playing with Australia?
Shafi
October 2, 2012 4:26 am
Pak is already out!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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