T20 World Cup 2021: Aaron Finch calls powerplay battle against Shaheen Afridi crucial in semi-final

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Australian skipper Aaron Finch said that the battle against Shaheen Afridi in the powerplay will hold the key for his side in the semi-final of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 against Pakistan at Dubai.

Australia will take on Pakistan in the semi-final 2 of T20 World Cup 2021 at Dubai on Thursday (11th November). While the Aaron Finch-led side managed to qualify, based on a better run rate, the ‘Men in Green’ won five out of their five matches in the group stage.

Both the teams displayed sensational performances to reach the knockout phase of the tournament and will be leaving no stone unturned to grab a place in the final.

Addressing the press conference, ahead of the clash against Pakistan, Australia skipper Aaron Finch highlighted the importance of power play and said that battle against Shaheen Afridi in the first six overs will be crucial for his side.

“I think what we have seen through the course of the tournament is how important the powerplay is both batting and bowling. I think the stats around the middle and death overs are pretty similar throughout. The powerplay definitely holds the key, Shaheen Shah Afridi has been in good form for Pakistan, that will be a crucial battle in the game,” Aaron Finch said during the press conference. 

When asked about the importance of toss in the semi-final, Finch said that it doesn’t make a huge difference in the knockout games as he feels that getting runs on the board will be beneficial. He asserted that if they bat first, they can win the match.

“I think when it comes to the finals, it does not make a huge difference. I believe getting runs on the board especially in knockouts can be really beneficial. We have talked about it, we are confident that we can win if we happen to bat first,” he said.

Finch praised Pakistan for being in good form and remarked that the Babar Azam-led side has a completely different team to what they have played in past. He also lauded their spinners for having success in the tournament.

I think Pakistan has been in good form, they have won five matches and they have played good cricket throughout. I do not think you can read too much into history. They have a completely different team from what we have played in the past. In terms of Pakistan spin, they have had good success with Imad Wasim bowling in the powerplay. Shadab has also been excellent,” he said.

Finch admitted that the clash against Pakistan will be a close battle. He praised pitch curators for keeping the conditions fair despite the pitches being used in IPL. He lauded the ‘world-class’ trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins for executing their skills and said that they are happy with the way things have gone.

“It will be a close battle no doubt. Our quicks have done a really good job, I think having wickets that have been used quite a bit in the IPL and this tournament, I have been surprised with how well they have played. The curators have done a good job in keeping the conditions fair across all venues. That has been brilliant. 

“Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood have been fantastic. Sometimes it comes down to execution, we have been really happy with how they have gone, they are a world-class trio. Yeah, we are really happy with how that has gone,” he said.

Finch noted that Pakistan’s powerplay success has been key to their performance so far. He also talked about people who had “written Australia off” in the shortest format before this tournament.

“Pakistan has played brilliant cricket, the way they have gone in the powerplay with bat and ball, that has been crucial to their success. I think in this format of the game over the past few series, everyone had written us off. So you can read into that as you like,” he said.