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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014
Aussies need to be challenged before quarters
Steve Waugh, Hindustan Times
March 18, 2011
First Published: 23:23 IST(18/3/2011)
Last Updated: 01:42 IST(19/3/2011)
Australia skipper Ricky Ponting during a fielding drill in Colombo on Friday.

The Pakistan team would obviously want to play well in their final league game on Saturday. The twist in the tale is that the Australian team will also want the Pakistanis to play well. The defending champions have not got a good workout and even their wins against the non-Test teams have been just about adequate.

There have been no moments of magic, no stroke of genius and no game-changing moments in their campaign so far.

Game changers need a test

Australia have stressed on pace and have not had to change the game plan too much. They might have to do that in the knockout stage, and if their game-changers like Brad Haddin, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey are not under pressure now, they might be less than prepared later.

There are some areas of Australia's game that could do with some testing. If they don't get that in the next game, Ponting's team might go into the quarter-finals underdone and, while being group toppers will get them an easy draw, they might struggle when they come up against a tough opponent.

The right Pakistan need to show up

Pakistan can mesmerise or disappoint on any given day, and I hope we see the best of the team on Saturday. Shahid Afridi has been in great form with the ball. He changed the game in their favour when they took on Sri Lanka.

The spin bowlers are in good form and seem to be enjoying the leadership of Afridi. Pakistan's main problem area is fielding, and they have shown a concerted effort to change that area of their game.

However, they also have the luxury of playing in a zero-pressure situation. The circumstances that foreshadowed their tournament preparations ensured that their fans did not expect too much from them.

(Gameplan)


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