x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Watson credits IPL for helping him tackle India's spin threat

In the case of Watson, his 72 with seven sixes was merely adding to his unsaid status as the tournament's most valuable player.

Shane Watson had a good day with bat and ball.
Shane Watson had a good day with bat and ball.

COLOMBO // Australia may have been slow on the Twenty20 uptake but they have been making up for it rapidly over the past year. And nowhere was their progress more evident than in their manhandling of India at the R Premadasa in Colombo last night.

On the back of another brutish and violent assault from Shane Watson and David Warner, they cantered to a nine-wicket victory with just over five overs to spare to open their Super Eights campaign.

If any team is to get past them in this World Twenty20, they will first have to neuter this opening partnership.

The pair were monstrous in hunting down 140, a target which, during the interval with India's spinners to come, looked the wrong side of tricky.

After four overs, Australia on 22, it looked a game.

But Watson pulled two sixes off Ravichandran Ashwin in the next over and sparked a period of remarkable six-hitting; including that brace, the pair hit 10 sixes over the next nine overs or so.

Watson hit seven of them, attributing some of the success to his time in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

"I suppose I've been lucky in a way that I've been able to play all their spinners in the IPL over the last few years and know how they are going to bowl at me, how they will try to get me out," he said.

"It was nice it worked out for me tonight."

In the case of Watson, his 72 was merely adding to his unsaid status as the tournament's most valuable player.

He picked up three Indian wickets earlier to seal a third straight player-of-the-match award.

India were abysmal with the ball, even accounting for the brief drizzle and briefer shower that stopped the game for seven minutes when Australia began their chase.

The wet outfield and ball, the captain MS Dhoni said later, played a big role in his spinners consistently pitching short. But with Watson and Warner in this kind of form a dry night would probably not have helped.

With the bat India were better, but only marginally.

Having left out Virender Sehwag again after their first game of the tournament, they begun brightly and were 70 for two halfway through.

But three wickets in seven balls immediately after that snatched the impetus away, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Watson expertly squeezing the life out of the innings.

osamiuddin@thenational.ae

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