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WI-Aus T20 semi a matchup of hitters

Associated Press
Oct 04, 2012 at 06:54pm IST

Colombo: Unlike the spin-inspired first semifinal, the second at the World Twenty20 will be influenced by two of the best hitters in cricket's short formats.

Shane Watson of Australia and Chris Gayle of West Indies are so feared and respected as batsmen that it's the main goal of both teams to dismiss them as soon as possible on Friday.

Watson has averaged more than 60 in five tournament matches and is the highest scorer in with 242 runs, while Gayle has a better strike rate and tallied two half centuries.

Windies-Australia T20 semi a matchup of hitters

The second semi-final will be influenced by two of the best hitters in cricket's short formats.

Australia captain George Bailey admits if Gayle gets going, Australia will be in trouble.

"Absolutely we will focus on getting him out; if he has an outstanding game it's going to be very difficult for us to win," he said on Thursday.

Bailey said not only Watson but also David Warner, Mike Hussey and Cameron White were capable hitters.

"So that's one part of the puzzle. That's Twenty20 isn't it?," Bailey said. "There are little games within the game that's for sure."

West Indies counterpart Darren Sammy believes Australia is vulnerable to spin, and his side can exploit that.

Australia's batting order has largely depended on the opening partnership of Warner and Watson, leaving the middle order largely unexposed. It faltered against Pakistan's spin attack on Tuesday during its first, and last, hit out in the Super Eights.

Hussey has been successful without attracting too much attention, accumulating runs in near quick time but without the flamboyance of the much celebrated openers.

"It's good that we watched them play against Pakistan just like we saw England against India," Sammy said of Australia's problem against spin. "We have a variety of guys who could bowl spin, we will definitely try to exploit that.

"Obviously they have lot of experience at the top of the order but as we saw in the game against Pakistan, once you get into that middle order ... they've been playing well but we back ourselves to think we have bowlers to take wickets against them."

Sunil Narine leads the battery, and despite taking only four wickets in the competition, he has an economy rate of barely six an over. Primarily an offspin bowler, Narine can get the ball to spin away from right-handers. Samuel Badree was also a capable legspin bowler and with part-timers Gayle and Marlon Samuels, West Indies has a formidable spin attack.

Australia's Xavier Doherty does not boast any mystery but his orthodox left-arm spin has been enough to trouble the batsmen and for him to collect four wickets in the two games he has played.

He's backed by Brad Hogg, the 41-year-old left-arm chinaman bowler along with offspin bowler Glenn Maxwell.

The pace attack of the teams also match up equally with left-armer Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins serving Australia while Fidel Edwards and Ravi Rampaul carry West Indies' responsibilities.

In reaching the semifinal, Australia has been more consistent in winning four out of five matches including a group win against West Indies by 17 runs on Sept. 22.

That was one of West Indies' two defeats. Another match was abandoned.

Sammy likened his team's progress in the tournament to running the 100-meter hurdles.

"We've got two more hurdles to jump to the finish line. Tomorrow it's about jumping that hurdle," he said.

Bailey said the loss to Pakistan two days ago was history.

"I don't think you need to do too much in terms of getting the boys' momentum and confidence up for a World Cup semifinal," he said. "The boys are certainly up, the message has been that from now on no more second chances, so we go out and play the cricket that we want to play."

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