Australia faced two overs of pace bowling during their defeat today. Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez saw that it was not broke and therefore declined the opportunity to attempt repairs.
It’s interesting how a very specific batting weakness can be exploited in Twenty20. If spin causes some damage, the incoming batsmen are reluctant to strike out against that type of bowling. They feel there’s a damn good reason for doing more prolonged reconnaisance. This means it’s easy to squeeze in four overs from a part-time bowler, which is of course a full complement.
This wouldn’t happen in 50-over cricket. A part-time bowler would bowl those four overs and the batsmen would then have a pretty good idea that what was confronting them was actually pretty femmer. A few lusty blows would end the spells – both magic and bowling
In Twenty20, there isn’t really much of a window between having sized up a bowler and his having bowled all his overs. This is bad for batting but great for tactics and can lead to the situation we saw today where 90 per cent of the overs were spin.
Of course, you can only do this if you happen to have five fairly decent spin bowlers knocking around your side. Team selection like that limits most teams to one basket for their eggs, but not Pakistan because they don’t always distinguish between batsmen and spin bowlers.
The upshot is that they can tailor their bowling attack even once the match is in progress and an added bonus is that they can set their batting order to ‘shuffle’ with no ill-effects.