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|February 2, 2000||
Australia too goodBobby Simpson
Pakistan have paid the penalty once again of taking make shift openers into international one-day matches. Just when will countries appreciate that top class openers are just as essential for one-day internationals as they are in Test cricket. The law of averages is just too much against this theory.
I thought that by this time all the countries would have given this fad away and used hard nosed regular and tested batsman against the new ball for this vital role. But no, Pakistan used the hit or miss Afridi and their collapse against McGrath, the best new ball bowler in the world, was inevitable.
Once he tasted blood McGrath was simply magnificent and after his opening spell of five overs and three wickets an Australian victory was never in doubt. He was ably assisted by the rest of the bowling attack and with Pakistan's slow start, captain Steve Waugh was able to use his attack and gain maximum results.
Once again the Aussie fielders were exciting and superb and it was worth the price of admission just to see them in action. The psychological advantage they have over the opposition is easily seen and every decision to run is considered over and over again until the batsmen are so confused they miss easy opportunities to take singles and additional runs.
While the Pakistan captain and team management have suggested that all the pressure would be on the Aussies this was never likely and the brittle Pakistan batting was always going to be their weak point. This was obvious in Melbourne and Pakistan will need a lot of luck and more stability in their batting in the second final.
On the other hand, Australia turned in another great performance and have lost only two matches in their last 24 games. They faltered in the opening overs when the folly of not playing regular tough openers was once again exposed but Ponting and Bevan were once again the masters in the short version of cricket and their audacity between the wickets soon had the Pakistan bowlers thinking of defence when their only chance for a victory was to get all the Aussie wickets down.
Shoaib gained two early wickets, but why was he removed from the attack after only five overs! He looked the only Pakistan bowler likely to get wickets and if he could have picked up another two wickets in his opening spell, as the Australian bowlers did, then anything could have happened. In the end Australia were deserved victors and had the skill, confidence and tactics to never really give Pakistan a chance.
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