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June 12, 2019

Aussie captain wary of ‘dangerous’ Pakistan


June 12, 2019

TAUNTON, England: Both Aaron Finch and Australia have happy memories when it comes to recent matches against Pakistan, writes Khalid Hussain.

Finch, the Australian captain, piled up a record 451 runs in five matches at an average of 112.75 as the Aussies routed Pakistan 5-0 in their One-day International series in the UAE ahead of the World Cup.

But that was a different Pakistan team playing in different conditions. And Finch is fully aware of it and also about the fact that the Pakistanis tend to punch above their weight in major ICC events.

“I think Pakistan are obviously a very dangerous side. We've seen consistently throughout, especially ICC tournaments, that they win a lot of games and they get themselves in a position to win the tournament. And they had a great Champions Trophy. So regardless of what kind of form Pakistan go in with, they're always incredibly dangerous,” said Finch ahead of Australia’s World Cup game here at county ground on Wednesday.

Finch was generous in their praise of Pakistan, a side which he believes is brimming with talent. “They've got some world-class players. Obviously Babar (Azam) is in great touch batting at No. 3 and holding their batting together. But also they've got some world class bowlers. (Mohammad) Amir coming back and he looks to be back to his best. He's swinging the ball again. Wahab (Riaz) has been fast and aggressive. Shadab (Khan) is a great bowler. Hassan (Ali) had a great Champions Trophy as well.”

Finch stressed that Australia, who were brought down to earth by India in a 36-run loss in London on Sunday, will need to put their best foot forward against Pakistan. “When you look down their side there's no player that you can disregard. They've got a lot of experience on their side. They've got a lot of match winners. Every time you come up against Pakistan you have to play your best to beat them.”

Personally, Finch feels hugely confident going into Wednesday’s game. “I felt the way that I played in that series against Pakistan was really pleasing, especially in a couple of big run chases, 280-plus, a charger, to be able to bat really deep, especially in that second game and get a not out to get us over the line was, I think, was something that I was happy with myself about because it's an area that I hadn't really done in the past.”

But the Australian captain admitted that Pakistan will unleash a different attack on Wednesday. “It’s going to be a totally different attack. I'm also well aware of that. Amir didn’t play in four matches. There was no Shadab, no Hassan Ali or Wahab. So it's a totally different attack but it still gives you a lot of confidence going into a game.”

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