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Australia to reassess game plan ahead of Pakistan clash

The News 2019-06-10 10:25:00

Australia to reassess game plan ahead of Pakistan clash

LONDON: Defending champions Australia received a rude awakening here at The Oval on Sunday when they crashed to a 36-run defeat in a high-scoring ICC World Cup encounter against India.

Buoyed up by a perfect start to the tournament, the Australians were brimming with confidence ahead of the clash of World Cup heavyweights. But they were first undone by India’s potent batting line-up and then contained by the bowlers on a used surface.

It was the convincing manner with which India conquered the Aussies that must have been cause for some concern in the Australia camp, ahead of their next World Cup clash against unpredictable Pakistan.

But Australia captain Aaron Finch downplayed Sunday’s loss as a “small hiccup”.

“There’s no panic, we’ve started off well with a couple of wins and it’s just a small hiccup,” he said at The Oval.

Finch admitted that after the defeat against India, Australia will reassess their strategy for Wednesday’s game against Pakistan in Taunton.

“We’ll assess every option, which we do for each game. We know Pakistan is going to have quite a few left-handers in their side, but you don't know. It's hard to comment on it until you see the wicket, and there haven't been a huge amount of games at Taunton to get a read on what the wicket is going to look like, either. We assess every option every game,” he said.

Against India, Finch’s game plan was to target early wickets. It didn’t work against a side that some of the world’s best top-order batters in their line-up.

India’s top three – Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli – turned out to be the team’s top run-getters propelling it to 352-5 – an imposing total. Dhawan hit a sparkling 117 and was involved in a century opening partnership with Sharma against Australia for the sixth time.

“They outplayed us,” he admitted. “We didn’t bowl our best stuff and we struggled to get wickets early on, which was always going be important.

“They took their time, assessed the conditions and probably knew Mitchell (Starc) and Pat (Cummins) were our two biggest threats.

“They swallowed their pride a bit, pulled back a gear and just made sure they got through those first ten overs. Batting that deep into the innings gives them so many options later on, as we saw. They just played really well and negated our biggest threats, it’s as simple as that.”

The Aussies tried similar tactics in their run-chase. They failed.

Opener David Warner, a natural big-hitter, took 84 balls for 56 runs. The required run-rate went up. The Aussies pushed the panic button but wickets kept falling at regular intervals.

“I thought they bowled really well with the new ball,” Finch said. “I thought we could do some damage at the back end of the innings, if we had some wickets in hands.

“I thought we were in a decent position but we lost our wickets at key times. They also bowled really well, they didn’t give us any length or width to work with. It was a pretty simple strategy but it was effective.”

On Sunday, the stands at The Oval were painted blue as it was packed by Indian supporters.

Was Finch surprised by the sight?

“No, I wasn't surprised. India have amazing support everywhere they go everywhere around the world. Their fans are very vocal. And being on the other side of it, it's not ideal, but at the end of the day, no matter where you play, you can play in Melbourne, you can play in Hobart, they're always going to outnumber you.”