Pakistan vs Australia - 4 key battles | ICC T20 World Cup 2021

Australia v Sri Lanka - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021
Australia v Sri Lanka - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021
Shyam Kamal

Pakistan and Australia will take on each other in the second semifinal of the ICC T20 World Cup in a battle of equally matched heavyweights. It is not often that Australia come into a knockout game without being clear favorites, but that is the case this time around.

5 wins out of 5 matches for the Pakistan team has proved just how good they are and how good they can be. And a debilitating loss against England for the Aussies has exposed weaknesses in their batting lineup.

But anything can happen in a knockout game, as we have seen in the past when it comes to games like this. With that out of the way, here are 4 matchups that will play a key role in determining the course of the game:

#1 David Warner vs Haris Rauf

After spending the IPL season for the most part sidelined by the Sunrisers Hyderabad, David Warner is finally back in form. And just in time for Australia's most important match yet.

Pakistan is arguably the top bowling side at this year's T20 World Cup and it will take all of Warner to blast a hole through them. And while Shaheen Afridi is their most fearsome bowler, it is Haris Rauf who deals the death blow to teams.

His 4 wickets against New Zealand ensured that they never got any momentum going. His economy, average and strike rate are also ahead of Shaheen Afridi. Along with Imad Wasim, he is the one who will choke the batsmen during the middle overs.

Pace like fire 🔥Haris Rauf, the mainstay of Pakistan's T20I unit, celebrates his 2️⃣8️⃣th birthday 👏#T20WorldCup #Pakistan

With Australia's finishers not in form yet, Warner is the only batsman in the side in form and capable of scoring quick. That is why the Warner-Rauf battle is one to look for.

#2 Imad Wasim vs Adam Zampa

Australia v West Indies - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021
Australia v West Indies - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021

In the battle of the spinners, Australia's Adam Zampa might come out on top in terms of wickets taken (11 to Wasid's 4). But Imad's role in the team so far has been to control the run flow and create pressure from one end, and he has done that spectacularly so far.

His economy of 5.24 so far has been bested by bowlers who have bowled as many or more overs than him twice - Jasprit Bumrah and Wanindu Hasaranga. Zampa himself is not far off, with an economy of 5.74.

Imad Wasim in his five matches has conceded only 89 runs in his 17 overs, an incredible economy of 5.23, His ability to create a run drought from one end, yields crucial early wickets from other. Unsung hero of this Pakistan side. #T20WorldCup

But what shifts the tide in Wasim's favor is that his opponents are less accustomed to playing spin than his teammates. Shoaib Malik and Hafeez and Babar Azam are all better players of spin than Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis. That will prove to be important - how each team tackles playing the spin.

Click here to view the T20 World Cup schedule.

#3 Babar Azam vs Josh Hazelwood

Pakistan v Scotland - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021
Pakistan v Scotland - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021

Funny how in a team with pacers such as Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood has managed to emerge as the best of the bunch. His 8 wickets have come at an economy rate of 6.88 and a strike rate of 12.00.

The thing with Hazelwood is that he is not very good at the death. But his initial burst of swing at the powerplay and an even better midovers spell is where he is at his best. And that is exactly where he will run into Babar Azam.

The Pakistan skipper is in the form of his life and has played wonderfully so far this T20 WC. A minimally risky approach at the start, followed by stepping into the gears once he has gotten his eye in, has returned dividends for his team well.

Josh Hazelwood pulled his length back in T20. The decks in Uae are suited to his style. Length ball and good mix of yorkers making him good bowler. CSK should look for him in auction, he is good for chepauk wicket #T20WorldCup @ChennaiIPL

In the same way as Warner has to be neutralized by Pakistan's pacers, so must Babar be kept quiet by Australia's quicks. It is not an easy job, but someone has to do it and Hazelwood is best suited for the job.

# Mitchell Marsh-Marcus Stoinis vs Asif Ali-Shoaib Malik

Pakistan v New Zealand - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021
Pakistan v New Zealand - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021

As important as the opening and middle overs are, the death is where things really happen. Both teams will depend a whole lot on their finishers and all-rounders to deliver in this game.

This is all the more exciting because both sets of batsmen are in fantastic form coming into this match. Asif Ali has scored 54 runs at a strike rate of 224 and is yet to be dismissed even once. Shoaib Malik has scored 99 runs meanwhile and has gotten out just once.

Mitchell Marsh, for his part, has looked good whenever he has come out to bat, scoring 53 off 32 balls in the last game. Marcus Stoinis, meanwhile, has scored 40 runs wiithout getting dismissed yet. Maxwell's IPL form has not yet been replicated but mostly he just hasn't had a chance to show it.

David Warner's 89*(56) and Mitchell Marsh's 53(32) helped Australia to win the match against West Indies by 8 wickets.#AUSvWI #T20WorldCup

Both teams are confident in their abilities and will back themselves to score heavily in the final phase. That's why whoever wins this battle is bound to get an advantage in the match and win a ticket to the final.

Edited by Diptanil Roy
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