Saturday, March 21, 2015

World Cup 2015: We will have to bat better against India, says Clarke

Australia saw through one of the fierce fast bowling spells by Wahab Riaz to set up a cricket World Cup semifinal clash against India but the home team skipper Michael Clarke said his players will have to bat much better against the defending champions.

India and Australia will fight it out for a place in the title clash on March 26 in Sydney.

"They are in good form. MS Dhoni is leading them well. We look forward to another really tough contest. We'll have to bat a lot better, specially the top-4," Clarke said when asked about his thoughts on the semifinal, following their six wicket win over Pakistan here.

While answering how will they mentally prepare for the semifinal, Clarke said, "It's no different to another game playing for Australia. I have spoken about not putting the World Cup on a pedestal, so preparation as always. Every time you play for Australia, you want do your best."

The Australian captain said it was "a really close game in the end".

"The bowlers did a fantastic job, our fielding was excellent, but Wahab came out and really put us under pressure, one of the fastest spells I've seen in a long time," he said.

Clarke praised Shane Watson (64 not out) and Steven Smith (65) for successfully seeing off a crisis situation when they looked in a spot of bother, having lost three wickets with not many runs on the board.

"Watson toughed it out, Steven Smith looked fantastic. If they catch Watto at fine leg it could have been a lot tighter, credit to sticking in there. Wahab pushed us really hard," he said.

Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq lamented that things could have been different had they put more runs on the board.

"It's obviously disappointing, credit to Australia, they really deserved it, they bowled really well. At one stage 270-80 was on but we kept losing wickets and some of the batting shot selection really cost us," he said.

Like Clarke, Misbah was also in awe of Riaz's fiery bowling.

"He bowled his heart out, he's been a totally different bowler throughout this tournament, I've never seen spells like that," Misbah, who has called time on his ODI career, said.

Australian paceman Josh Hazlewood was adjudged Man of the Match for returning fantastic figures of 4 for 35.

"It's a great day for us. I've been bowling well all week so good to put in a performance. Happy to get a game today and happy with the result. Keeping them to 213 was perfect for us and the boys did a good job with the bat. We're firing on all aspects, it's been a good tournament and we're going well," the lanky pacer said.


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