Semi-Finals, ICC Men’s T20 World CupStadium: DSC, Dubai, UAE
So it is finally here, the Semi-Finals of the ICC T20 World Cup as the tournament heads closer to designating a winner. Two ultra-fast pace attacks square off in the battle between Australia and Pakistan. What is at stake? A Finals spot! Who will prevail, buoyant Pakistan or the battle-hardened Aussies? To get an overview of the scenario, head to the “Expert Betting Tips” section.Claim Your Welcome Bonus!
Australia: Haven’t they played tougher opponents?
Crunch-time calls for experience
In terms of experience, Aussie bowling has a lot to offer. Starc, Hazelwood, and Cummins have bowled alongside each for a long time now and offer both pace and variations. The pace attack combined with the most threatening bowler for Australians in Adam Zampa, and as much as four sides have felt the jolt, especially South Africa and Bangladesh as the Africans got restricted to 119 while Bangladesh to a paltry 73. However, the Pakistani batting lineup has clicked more than any other team but can they withstand a barrage from the likes of Starc? One thing is for sure, Pakistan has the potential to negotiate Adam Zampa better than the teams that have played Australia so far. Can Adam continue his swashbuckling form against a team that plays spin well? Here is a look at the leading wicket-takers for Australia:
- Adam Zampa: 11 wickets at an economy of 5.73;
- Josh Hazelwood: 8 wickets at an economy of 6.87;
- Mitchell Starc: 7 wickets at an economy of 7.89;
- Pat Cummins: 4 wickets at an economy of 7.50.
Finch and Warner are looking in great touch
Aaron Finch has rediscovered his mojo but the biggest relief comes from David Warner who has lodged two substantial scores in the last 5 matches. Although Warner can be tested by both the spinners and seamers of Pakistan, if he starts launching then this game might become Australia’s to lose. With Steve Smith in the middle accompanied by a hard-hitting middle-order in Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, and Matthew Wade, the Kangaroos present an experienced and well-balanced batting. Can Glen Maxwell who has averaged below 10 so far come into his own if he gets a chance to bat? Will Mitchell Marsh play here or will the team opt for Ashton Agar who can be handy with his spin bowling? Anyway, here is the list of the highest run-scorers for Australia in the tournament.
- David Warner: 187 runs at an average of 46.75. Highest: 89*;
- Aaron Finch: 130 runs at an average of 26.00. Highest: 44;
- Mitchell Marsh: 80 runs at an average of 40.00. Highest: 53;
- Steve Smith: 64 runs at an average of 32.00. Highest: 35.
Overall Picture: Played in a tougher group
It can be argued that, unlike Pakistan, Aussies had to battle a tougher group. The team somehow got through South Africa, which finished with four wins in five games. England blew them away, Sri Lanka looked threatening, West Indies and Bangladesh perhaps were the weakest links. Unlike Pakistan, Australia had to face four Test-level squads. Will this prove to be decisive?
Pakistan: On a roll
Babar leads the batting charge
To no one’s surprise, Babar Azam is on FIRE right now, he has hit four half-centuries in the last five games and looks in supreme touch. His opening partner Mohammad Rizwan has hit 79* runs twice and the Rizwan-Babar pairing has looked the most imposing so far. Shoaib Malik did hit a 19-ball 50 in the last match but is clear that Australia has a more penetrative bowling attack than Scotland. On the other hand, Asif Ali has helped close out two games and can be crucial if this game reaches a crunch-time situation. However, Fakhar Zaman has looked out of sorts, averaging a mere 13 or so and this is where Pakistan can showcase vulnerabilities. Mohammad Hafeez has the experience and can be a big-game player. Can the middle-order handle the situation if the top-order doesn’t pack many runs? In any case, these are the leading run-scorers for Pakistan in the tournament so far:
- Babar Azam: 264 runs at an average of 66.00. Highest: 70;
- Mohammad Rizwan: 214 runs at an average of 71.33. Highest: 79*;
- Shoaib Malik: 99 runs at an average of 99.00. Highest: 54*;
- Mohammad Hafeez: 84 runs at an average of 28.00. Highest: 28.00;
- Asif Ali: 57 runs(yet to be out). Highest: 27*
Pakistan can pose a ton of challenges with their bowling. Shaheen Shah can move the ball with pace while Haris Rauf has a ton of slower ball variations. Hasan Ali is a strike bowler while Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan round off a complete bowling unit. Unlike Australia, the fifth option for Pakistan is a specialist who can send down quality overs, and this is where the Pakistanis seem to have an advantage. Both Shadab and Imad have done well against Australia in UAE. Here are the leading wicket-takers for Pakistan in the tournament:
- Haris Rauf: 8 wickets at an economy of 6.80;
- Shaheen Shah Afridi: 6 wickets at an economy of 6.70;
- Shadab Khan: 5 wickets at an economy of 5.89;
- Hasan Ali: 5 wickets at an economy of 8.57;
- Imad Wasim: 4 wickets at an economy of 5.23.
Overall Picture: Strong and Strike
Pakistan has immense reserves at display and a ton of experience. The team got through sturdy sides in New Zealand and India, showing their full repertoire. Apart from having a talented and varied pace attack, the team has two spinners who can turn the game and spinner Imad can bowl in any period. In terms of depth, roles, and playing in front of a virtual home crowd in UAE, Pakistan’s chances are really sky-high. Can they get through a tough Australian team?
Pitch Conditions and Head-to-Head
Pitch: The Dubai pitch has produced balance between bat and ball. If we take out the blowouts from the equation, the batters have struggled against spin and pace alike but advanced batters have found their way home too. Australia had a tough time against England on this pitch, trudging towards 120s and Pakistan’s bowling has the same quality. The Aussies can face a ton of challenges from an attack that has both pace and potential to wreak havoc with slower bowling. On the other hand, Australia’s bowling can also scythe through the Pakistan unit. Let us see if we will see a green, flat, or slower track in the Semis.
Head-to-head: Pakistan has won 13 out of 22 contests between the two sides. Pakistan beat Australia on the last two occasions in Dubai and UAE has been a home away from home for the stellar T20 outfit. Australia can see a ton of problems tackling Pakistan, who has both crowd behind it and experience of playing in this stadium multiple times.
Expert Betting Tips
Here are some pointers for the game:
- While Pakistan has struck more sixes than Australia in the tournament, they have also faced two relatively weaker bowling lineups. The team has hit 32 sixes in five games;
- Aaron Finch has scored 37 or more in three of the five games;
- Imad Wasim has conceded only 89 runs in 17 overs, allowing others to take wickets off the pressure created by him;
- Glenn Maxwell is yet to hit the score of 20 but hasn’t batted much in the last two games;
- Shaheen Shah Afridi has the record of taking most wickets in the first over in the last two years or so;
- Josh Hazlewood has taken two wickets or more thrice in five games. He took four versus West Indies;
- Adam Zampa is the leading wicket-taker among both teams, claiming 2.2 wickets per game so far;
- Steven Smith has taken five catches so far;
- Fakhar Zaman has bagged four catches so far;
- Babar Azam has struck a half-century in four of the five contests;
- Mohammad Rizwan has scored 79 runs twice in five games;
- Mohammad Hafeez has hit one half-century so far;
- Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam have two 100+ partnerships in the tournament, which is the highest number.
- Bowler Total Match Wickets: S Afridi Over 1.5 for 2.10;
- Mitchell Starc Performance Points TO 24.5 for 2.00;
- To Hit 3+ Fours: Mohammad Rizwan for 1.72.