Dubai, November 10: When Pakistan batting consultant Matthew Hayden coaches his side in their semi-final against Australia tomorrow, he isn’t just vying to guide his side to a third ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final.
He will also be coming up against his home country, for whom he was the tournament’s top-scorer in the 2007 T20 World Cup, and Hayden will also face his former opening partner Justin Langer, now Australia’s head coach.
For Hayden, it will be a strange feeling for him to come up against his old team.
He said: “It is a very unusual feeling, I was a warrior for Australian cricket for over two decades, so that does give me the benefit of having wonderful insights not only into these players but also into the culture of cricket in Australia.
“I guess from my point of view there is the challenge of the heart, the challenge of the mind in terms of what’s going to happen over the next 24 hours, but I’ll also say very proudly that it’s been wonderful to be a part of Pakistan cricket.
“We have some incredible young players, a mix of wonderful, experienced players in our lineup, and they and the team are performing admirably.”
Pakistan have had lots of stars as they emerged from Group 2 of the Super 12s unbeaten and Hayden believes Fakhar Zaman could be the next to go stratospheric.
Hayden said: “Fakhar has I think been the standout outfielder for our team, as well. He saves literally five to 10 runs every game, and five to 10 runs within a T20 concept and batting lineup, include your own runs maybe 20s and 30s here and there, means that overall he’s just been such an important part of the side.
“Don’t be surprised if you see something incredibly special from him tomorrow, as well, because he is smashing the ball in the nets.
“In particular, if you look at a potential matchup against Adam Zampa, who’s been the leading wicket taker in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, I think that is a fantastic target, an opportunity for Fakhar to really dominate and position Pakistan in a strong competitive state.”
For Australian captain Aaron Finch, he is pleased to see another Australian great on the international stage.
He said: “We saw him around yesterday actually. I think it’s great to see the greats of Australian cricket crossing over into other countries and helping out as much as they can.
“I think we’ve got a rich history of great players helping our countries in terms of franchise cricket, so that’s brilliant.”
Finch identified a positive powerplay as the key to Australia’s success in tomorrow’s game in Dubai.
“I think what we’ve seen over the course of the tournament is how important the powerplay is for batting and bowling,” he said.
“The stats around the middle overs and the death overs are pretty similar throughout, but the powerplay definitely holds the key.
“Shaheen [Shah Afridi] has been in really good form for Pakistan, so that’s going to be a crucial battle no doubt.”