Australia brush up power-hitting skills, Pakistan sweat over Rizwan, Malik's fitness

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safari
11 Nov 2021 | 03:06 AM
authorSandipan Banerjee

Australia brush up power-hitting skills, Pakistan sweat over Rizwan, Malik's fitness

The Pakistan duo missed the training session on Wednesday (November 10) due to a mild flu but are expected to be fit for the Australia clash

On the back of that thrilling contest in Abu Dhabi, it is now the turn for Pakistan and Australia to enter the podium to decide the second finalist who will take on New Zealand on the 14th. On the eve of this much-awaited contest in Dubai, both teams had prolonged training sessions at the ICC Academy Ground on Wednesday.

The Aussies picked the afternoon slot from 14:00 to have their practice and the entire focus during this session was on their batters. Head coach Justin Langer was seen having multiple rounds of talks with the likes of Aaron Finch, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh. 

The mainstream Australian bowlers were not bowling at the nets for obvious reasons. Hence, the batters were mostly fed with throwdowns. The coaching staff and throwdown specialists tried to emulate some short-pitched stuff as well as fuller length deliveries, which the batters can expect from the Pakistan fast bowlers in the match.

While taking those on Finch had an exhibition of stroke play both on the front and back foot. The likes of Smith and Marsh too joined the party soon. 

When it came to facing slow bowling, we witnessed an extensive amount of power-hitting from all the main batters. Against the likes of Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson, who were bowling at the nets, Smith and Co. were targeting the fence in almost every delivery and they managed to clear it from that centre turf nets on almost six out of 10 occasions. 

Smith, in fact, had a second round batting, especially to work on his six-hitting skills. In one of the other nets, Maxwell was seen practicing the switch-hit against the spinners. For 15 minutes or so, he only played that shot to prepare for Pakistan's spin-heavy strategy in the middle-overs.

In bowling, Adam Zama did a light warm-up on the sidelines but he was not stretched at the nets. The pace trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood gave the session a miss.

Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik miss training

Two of the most dependable players for Pakistan in this ICC T2O World Cup  — Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik — missed their team's training session due to mild flu on Wednesday (November 10) evening. Though as a precaution, both players had to take a COVID test and both tested negative.

The management believes that Rizwan and Malik are likely to be fit for the match against Australia. Though the team, on their part, was seen preparing for the worst as former captain and keeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed was given a hit at the nets. In case Rizwan doesn't make it, he will come into the scheme of things. In such a scenario Fakhar Zaman will be pushed up to open the innings alongside Babar Azam.

Another option, which the management is pondering, hovers around Haider Ali as the replacement for Malik. Though if the senior pro is fit, he will be picked ahead of anyone else. Nevertheless, unlike their Aussie counterparts, the first-choice Pakistan bowlers did bowl at the nets. In fact, the likes of Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf bowled with full intensity. Though Shaheen Afridi had a light workout.

The Pakistani batters too looked ultra-aggressive against spin at the nets. Especially, Zaman, Babar and Asif Ali were hitting some lusty blows one after another. At one point of time, it became so intense that the media personnel, watching the session at the far end of the ICC Academy ground, were told to be careful and watch out for the balls coming their way.

The pitch at the Dubai International Stadium will be conducive to strokeplay and we can expect a high-scoring contest in this second semi-final. Though, as the trend here, toss is going to be a huge factor in the contest.

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Pakistan vs AustraliaICC World Twenty20, 2021PakistanAustraliaShoaib MalikMohammad Rizwan

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