ICC Cricket World Cup: Australia vs Scotland - Preview
Australia skipper Michael Clarke pledged no mercy on crisis-hit Scotland as the four-time World Cup champions seek a headline-grabbing performance ahead of a potential quarter-final collision with Pakistan.
Sydney: Australia skipper Michael Clarke pledged no mercy on crisis-hit Scotland as the four-time World Cup champions seek a headline-grabbing performance ahead of a potential quarter-final collision with Pakistan.
Australia have already made sure of their spot in the next stage after last weekend`s 64-run win over fellow title contenders Sri Lanka where they piled up 376-9.
That followed their World Cup record score of 417-6 to rout Afghanistan by 275 runs.
Victory against Pool A`s rock-bottom Scotland on Saturday will ensure the runners-up spot behind New Zealand and a possible last-eight clash in Adelaide on March 20 against old adversaries Pakistan should Misbah-ul-Haq`s side beat Ireland on Sunday.
"It doesn`t matter who we`re playing against. Everybody has turned up to training, wanting to get better," said Clarke.
"We need momentum, and we need to grab it and run with it for as long as we possibly can. In Hobart, it`ll be full steam ahead looking to become better individually and as a team."
The only selection issue appears to still revolve around Shane Watson who was dropped for the Afghanistan match but restored to the line-up for the win over Sri Lanka in Sydney.
He certainly responded with a fine innings of 67.
"The way Shane played the other day was fantastic. I think he sort of adopted that approach where he knew he could come in and play his game," said opening batsman David Warner.
"Because he was out of form he probably had the luxury to go in and play the way he wanted to play and that`s the message he probably wanted to send to everyone: he can still play this form of the game, it doesn`t matter where
"With the team we`ve got and the balance we`ve got, we showed the other night with the bat what can happen."
Australia will have little to fear from a Scotland side who have still to win a World Cup match in three appearances.
The two sides have met four times with Australia winning by six wickets in 1999, 203 runs in 2007, 189 runs in 2005 and 200 runs in 2013.
In that last match in Edinburgh, Australia motored to 362-3 based on an opening partnership of 246 between Aaron Finch (148) and Shaun Marsh (151).
Finch will be optimistic of similar carnage on Saturday on the Bellerive Oval`s compact boundaries although Scotland would have breathed a sigh of relief when Marsh wasn`t selected.
Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson took 4-36 that day as the Scots were dismissed for 162.
"We`ve just got to back ourselves. They`re the same as everyone else. They run up and try and get you out," said Scotland opener Kyle Coetzer.
Scotland have lost all five games at the World Cup so far and the build-up to their last game has been overshadowed by the banishment of all-rounder Majid Haq who was dropped for Wednesday`s match against Sri Lanka after he posted a racial tweet.
Haq, Scotland`s leading ODI bowler with 60 wickets and three half-centuries to his name, had played in his team`s four earlier matches taking just three wickets and making a top-score of 31 against Afghanistan.
"Always tougher when your in the minority!! #colour #race" tweeted 32-year-old Haq, who was born in Scotland and is of Pakistani descent.