Pakistan v Australia (T20 II)
Dunno why it so bloody hurts. It's just a T20. Maybe the defeat would be more bearable, if Mo Asif had been playing. But once more the Oz fort, the best batting line-up in the world, has been taken down by the unplayable Pakistan attack, and even Akhtar was sort of dangerous.
Both surprise decisions, replacing Watto (who obviously needed a break from Mo Aamer) and Legsmith with Hopesy and Steve O'Keefe -yesss-, and thusly opening the batting with Pup and the bowling with Dussey, worked like a charm. Promoting Hopesy up the order was not the worst idea either.
But what to do against Aamer, Gul, Ajmal, Afridi, if you are not allowed to use rifles in cricket. I would rate them the best T20 attack currently, England and Oz aren't bad either but these four guys really squeeze you to the wall.
BUT! There wouldn't be any shadow without sunlight: Michael Clarke got AUS off to great start, well great compared to his recent useless appearances, David Hussey shone for a bit, his brother played a couple of shots that deserved to get exhibited at some arts gallery, and then....
|Steve O'Threefe, Timmy, Dussey (c) Getty Images|
...Steve O'Keefe turned out as the pick of the Aussie bowlers with 3 for 29 and a great catch, while Dirty Dirk Nannes removed the entire Pakistan middle order, including the searing Ukmal with a funny little c&b, with similar figures, thereby healing the wounds he received in the first T20.
Regular readers of the blog will know that I've been fussing about O'Threefe a little and couldn't quite wait to examine him under the microscope, and hell, I was for sure not the only Aussie supporter who smelled something special coming up, when his name was announced in the line-up. Been buzzing around with excitement all the time and now I'm just utterly happy that he fulfilled all the expectations.
Looks a bit weird though, as viewed from behind he is, naturally, nearly a mirrored image of Nathan Hauritz in his delivery stride. The guy showed some real attitude and proved that his killing spree against the Sri Lanka A team with bat and ball was a whole lot more than just a flash in the pan by another NSW Blue.
Now of course, you will have already noticed the dilemma in which he puts us (well okay... me, in particular):
Hauritz? Smith? O'Keefe? Smith? Hauritz? O'Keefe? Hauritz? O'Keefe? Smith?
There can only be one at a time, regardless of the number of parallel bandwagons ridden by the spinthirsty Oz supporters. The only thing we can be sure of is that The K will never make an appearance again. Old news.
Whatever, blablabla. Let's quickly throw a blanket or something over this mess and head into the Tests. Afridi's skippering will come under serious scrutiny and we shall see which of the two teams has more style and class to offer. I expect the Pakistan bowlers to be a handful again and aided by the crazy Pakistan fan masses in the Silly Island there is going to be a contest on, Australia need to show who's the king in the ring.