Monday, November 29, 1999

Clash between old foes in World Twenty20 final

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Bridgetown (Barbados), May 15 (IANS) Spurred by their come-from-behind victory against Pakistan, Australia will challenge the might of England in what in expected to be an engrossing battle between the two arch-rivals for the World Twenty20 crown here Sunday.Australia and England are deserving finalists, being the most consistent performers in the 15-day tournament. For a while, it seemed Pakistan would overpower Australia Friday for the final berth, but Michael Hussey's sensational unbeaten 60 off 24 balls, that included three sixes off the last over, helped them chase down a mammoth 192.So far, the two teams were known to have made light of the shortest format of the game. The Test matches and Ashes rivalry holds more importance. But this time round, Australia and England have shown they can be equally good in the slam-bang version.Australia, who have won the ODI World Cup four times, is still to lay their hands on the World Twenty20 trophy while for England it holds a different importance. The inventor the gentleman's game is still to win any World Championship title.Like the Super Eights, the wicket is expected to help the pace bowlers, and both sides are packed with quality bowlers.It will, thus, be a test for the batsmen to show their skills on a bouncy Kenisngton Oval track which proved to be the burial ground for the sub-continental teams.The Australian fast bowling trio of Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson can make life difficult for England batsmen. Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom and Tim Bresnan are equally capable of challenging the Australians.Kevin Peitersen will be England's trump card while Australia will look up to Michael Hussey.Australia captain Michael Clarke has already said they would love to get rid of Peitersen as early as possible.Pietersen, who returned after the birth of his son, led the way for England with 201 runs at an average of 67.'Kevin Pietersen's coming back to form plays a huge part,' Clarke said.'He (Pietersen) is a wonderful player in all three forms of the game. He'll be a big part of the final. If we can get him out early it will hold us in good stead.'But the sterngth of this England side is that they do not rely on one or two players. Their new opening combination of Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb has given them quick starts and Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright have held the fort in the middle order. Paul Collingwood himself is in good touch.Australia's opening pair of David Warner and Shane Watson is equally dangerous. The middle order has been bit shaky but Cameron White and Hussey have made up for their lack of runs.

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