Subcontinent double-header awaits Australia

With its survival at stake, Australia is saddled with an enormous task of taking on two Asian giants, Pakistan and India, in its ‘home’ conditions over the next five days in the World T20.

“They are both tough. I certainly have compared them. There will be different challenges of playing against two teams. They have different strengths,” said wicketkeeper Peter Nevill.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

With its survival at stake, Australia is saddled with an enormous task of taking on two Asian giants, Pakistan and India, in its ‘home’ conditions over the next five days in the World T20.

For Australia, a five-time World Cup champion which is yet to win a World T20 title, it is about time to set the record straight in the shortest version of the game. After a defeat against New Zealand in its tournament opener and a hard-fought win over Bangladesh, Australia has managed just two points from as many matches.

For a team packed with some fine batters and experienced all-rounders, the results so far must be far from comforting. Australian wicketkeeper Peter Nevill would not agree though, especially about the tense match against Bangladesh.

“I won’t say it was too close to comfort, but probably would have liked to be more clinical than we were with that run chase the other night,” said Nevill following Australia’s optional practice session at the PCA Stadium here on Wednesday.

Australia, which meets Pakistan on Friday and India on Sunday, is aware of the challenges it may face over the weekend. “They are both tough. I certainly have compared them. There will be different challenges of playing against two teams. They have different strengths,” said Nevill.

Permutations and combinations

The Aussies must have done their math to prepare themselves for worst case scenarios where the net run rate can dictate terms. The simplest solution for Australia is to win both the matches. But it is not so simple. It has not played against Pakistan in recent times and has lost a home series to India 3-0.

“I would imagine we would just want to win this match and the next match against India,” wished Nevill. “If you drop one of these games, then obviously we are relying on other results going our way. We would rather not be in that position. The game against Pakistan is a must-win for us,” he added pragmatically.