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Updated: May 2, 2010 01:30 IST

Clarke expects tough challenge from Pakistan

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A file photo of Michael Clarke
AP A file photo of Michael Clarke

Pakistan are missing some key players in the ongoing Twenty20 World Cup but Australia captain Michael Clarke on Saturday said it would not make his team’s job any easier when it takes on the defending champions in a Group A match here on Sunday.

“I think Pakistan are very strong in this form of the game. We will have to be at our best. They’re the world champs, so they’ll be flying high on confidence. They like the slower pitches that spin a bit,” Clarke told reporters here.

“I would imagine they always like beating Australia like every country seems to do. For us, it’s about making sure we get a lot of information on how their bowlers bowl, their batters bat,” he added.

Led by the unpredictable Shahid Afridi, Pakistan are without heavyweights like Younus Khan, Shoaib Malik and a few others who have been banned and fined for indiscipline.

Adding to their woes is the injury to key pacer Umar Gul but Clarke said the depleted side will pose a tough challenge nonetheless in the first Group A match.

Australia were served a rather rude reminder of their none-too-impressive Twenty20 record when they lost by a run to Zimbabwe in a warm-up match here but Clarke preferred to look at the positives from the defeat.

“We got a lot out of that game. And like I say, we played the game so everyone could get an opportunity so we could get a better idea of what our first XI is going to be,” he said.

“I’m confident we’ve got the talent and potential. We just have to execute our skills to the best of our ability. In this form of the game, you can’t afford one bad over with either the bat or the ball.

“The result against Zimbabwe is another kick up the backside to show that in this form of the game we’re all the same. We’re all equal,” he added.

Australia failed to go beyond even the preliminary stage the last time around and Clarke said the team is keen to make amends this year.

“I don’t think we want to leave it to the second game. We want to win every game in this tournament. The last thing we can afford is to lose games and hope for results from other teams.

“All I’ve asked from the boys since we’ve arrived is to get our preparation as right as possible. Bring on Sunday,” he said.

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