New Delhi: Former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja believes Indian bowlers should take a cue from Wahab Riaz's hostile spell against Australia and exploit the Michael Clark-led side's weakness in the World Cup semifinals clash at the SCG on Thursday.
Wahab's left-arm pace rattled the Australian batting order but a sitter being dropped off his bowling by Rahat Ali allowed the momentum to slip away as Australia managed a six-wicket win in the quarterfinal clash.
"Wahab Riaz was excellent with the ball. The star-studded Australian battling line-up had no answers to his fast and accurate bouncers. Pakistan may have lost the game but Indian bowlers should take a cue from Riaz's performance and work on Australia's weakness, if they want to restrict them in the semifinals," Rameez, who is a part of the Hindi commentary panel on Star Sports told PTI.
Chasing 213 for a win at the Adelaide Oval, Australia were reduced to 59 for three but two dropped chances of Shane Watson and Glenn Maxwell helped them reach their target in 33.5 overs. As many hailed Riaz's bowling effort as the best in this edition of the World Cup, Rameez also joined the chorus of praising the left-armer.
Unfortunately for Pakistan, bowling was the only positive and Rameez was quick to highlight their shortcomings in other departments, especially fielding. If Rahat Ali dropped a dolly at fine leg, which would have given Pakistan their fourth scalp with Watson on 4, then Sohail Khan dropped a running catch at third man to give Glenn Maxwell a life on 5.
Rahat Ali drops a catch opportunity during their Cricket World Cup quarterfinal match against Australia. (Photo: AP)
Both the spills came during Wahab's excellent spell that will be remembered for long. Rameez rued the lack of athleticism in the Pakistan ranks. "The team lacks athleticism and are simply not upto the standards required at the international stage. It was so disheartening to see easy chances put down after some great bowling at crucial stages of the game," said the cricketer-turned analyst.
Rameez also was not pleased with skipper Misbah's field placements at times. "For some strange reasons, it has been Pakistani captain's Achilles heel when it comes to identifying your best fielders and placing them at the right positions and Misbah repeated the trend. You need your best men out there on the boundary who have higher concentration," he added.
The focus now shifts to the Australia-India clash as the co-hosts are up against an in-form side, which is hungry to retain the title. India, who have been unbeaten in the tournament so far, will look to bowl out their opponents again, a feat they have managed to achieve in all the matches till now.
The two teams have met 10 times in the 50-over showpiece event and the balance heavily tilts towards Australia, who have a 7-3 advantage. India, though, got past the Ricky Ponting-led side in the previous edition when Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team won the quarterfinal in Ahmedabad by five wickets....