Cautious Clarke enthused by Australia's 'Plan B'
Australia captain Michael Clarke was confident his side had all bases covered after they began their World Twenty20 campaign with a 34-run win over defending champions Pakistan.cricket Updated: May 03, 2010 12:41 IST
Australia captain Michael Clarke was confident his side had all bases covered after they began their World Twenty20 campaign with a 34-run win over defending champions Pakistan.
Australia saw all-rounder Shane Watson make 81 out of an imposing total of 191, with David Hussey
(53) and opener David Warner (26) weighing in as well at the Beausejour Stadium.
Then, on a pitch widely regarded as spin friendly, Australia's fast bowling trio took eight wickets between them, Shaun Tait leading the way with three for 20. Meanwhile the attack was well supported by some assured fielding.
Victory saw Australia take a huge step towards the second round Super Eights with only Bangladesh, who they play in Barbados on Wednesday, in their way.
But Clarke, a member of the Australia side that sensationally lost a one-day international against Bangladesh in Cardiff in 2005, was refusing to get carried away despite the Tigers being well-beaten by Pakistan on Saturday.
"It was a very good start from the boys. Obviously our batting sets the game up there, getting 191 runs," Clarke told reporters.
"The bowlers did a great job as well in the first six overs up front and we caught really well as well."
Australia, for all their success in Test and one-day cricket, have yet to hit the heights in the Twenty20 format and batsman Clarke said: "There's extra motivation from within the squad, we want to perform better in Twenty20 cricket then we have in general.
"I think our form has improved over the last 12 months and we've started really well. The key is going to be adapting to conditions and I think we've got a really good squad to do that."
Dirk Nannes and Mitchell Johnson were also in the wickets against Pakistan and Australia have another fast bowler in Ryan Harris, a replacement for the injured Brett Lee, waiting in the wings.
"All four fast bowlers in our squad are not just four fast bowlers who just run in and bowl at the same pace, and bowl the same ball every ball," Clarke explained.
"They've got great variation, great pace and the key for those guys is their execution which they did really well today (Sunday)."
But if pace doesn't suit Clarke has other options to call-on in off-spinner Nathan Hauritz, omitted against Pakistan, leg-spinner Steven Smith, several all-rounders and fill-in bowlers, including himself.
"We've got two really good spinners in our squad, a couple of all-rounders and there's a couple of us average part-timers who will bowl a couple of overs here and there," said Clarke.
"I think the strength of this squad is that we have a plan B, which a lot of other teams don't have."
But that still didn't stop Australia losing a warm-up match to outsiders Zimbabwe and Clarke, captain now that Ricky Ponting has opted out of Twenty20 internationals, said: "Any team in this competition has a great opportunity.
"We got beaten by Zimbabwe a couple of days ago.
"It just shows in this form of the game, you have to be at your best, it doesn't matter who you are playing against
"We certainly won't be taking Bangladesh lightly. They've got some wonderful Twenty20 players who are very aggressive with the bat."