World Twenty20 2012: Lessons as Australia & Watson impress in Super Eights
World Twenty20 2012: Matt Cansick takes a look at the talking points ahead of the final round of Super Eight games
Australia looking like team to beat
Australia all but booked their place in the semi-finals with a comprehensive win that left their opponents South Africa facing a disappointing exit. Shane Watson’s 70 from 47, followed by Mike Hussey’s 45 n.o. from 37, saw Australia comfortably home after they had restricted the Proteas to 145-6. The Australians have now won five on the bounce, thanks in no small part to the electric form of Watson, and they are by some distance the tournament’s form side. However, a word of caution for their supporters – they also won their first five matches in the 2010 tournament, before eventually losing out to England in the final.
With only one round of games left before the knockout stages, the picture is anything but clear. England’s win over New Zealand means they could still qualify with a win or a defeat against Sri Lanka, depending on what happens between the Black Caps and the West Indies, who were hammered by the hosts in their second game. In Group F, things are more complicated and it is quite possible qualification could come down to net run-rate. If, as would be expected on current form, Australia beat Pakistan, then India will be through with a win against South Africa. A defeat for India, and run rate will decide which of the remaining three teams will join Australia in the semi finals.
England reliant on others
Despite Luke Wright rediscovering the form shown in the opening group game against Afghanistan, England know that a win against Sri Lanka will not guarantee a shot at defending their title. Wright is England’s top run scorer in the tournament with 177, something which would have been considered highly unlikely a few weeks ago before he was brought back into the team. Eoin Morgan appears to have found his touch again, with another solid knock of 30 from 31 against New Zealand, and both will need to maintain this form against the hosts. Sri Lanka come into the game off the back of a resounding win against the West Indies, and Ajantha Mendis will be hoping to perplex the England batsmen with his wide range of deliveries.
Watson the main man
Shane Watson has racked up four man-of-the-match performances in Australia’s five wins, and a quick look at his tournament numbers tells you why. He has scored the most runs (234), taken the most wickets (10) and hit the most sixes (15), and looks a safe bet for player of the tournament. The fact will not be lost on him that all of this will be in vain should his side not deliver in the final few games of what has turned into an enthralling tournament.