Hauritz expects the unexpected
Nathan Hauritz believes that the unpredictable nature of limited-overs cricket means that anything could happen in their ICC Champions Trophy semi-final against England at Centurion tomorrow.
Australia’s recent superiority over Andrew Strauss' team will see them head into the first knockout match of the competition as favourites, despite England beating hosts South Africa and Sri Lanka to qualify in second place from Group B.
The defending champions have too had a successful tournament thus far, finishing top of Group A, but most of the talk at the pre-match press conference focussed on the way in which Hauritz and his team-mates eased past their opponents in a recently concluded NatWest Series.
The off-break bowler featured in every match as Australia stormed to a 6-1 win, but he knows that form and pedigree will count for nothing, especially considering the list of high-profile teams – South Africa, Sri Lanka and India – that have already bowed out.
“I guess anything can happen in a 50-over competition,” he said. “We’ve seen India knocked out and, along with South Africa, they are two of the two best sides in the world at the moment.
“Obviously it’s a fresh start for England over here and they’ve done really well so far. I think we’ve been playing some good cricket lately.
“It doesn’t bother me who we play. We’ve played England just recently, so it is good to play them I guess because we know their game and they know ours. It’s a new game and a new venue, so it doesn’t really matter.”
Hauritz, who took nine wickets during the NatWest Series, also feels that the emphatic result will have no bearing on tomorrow's game.
He continued: “I don't think it will have anything to do (with it) at all. I guess the difference was we played seven games back-to-back against each other and it can get a bit monotonous and draining at times.
“The only thing is that we get a bit of a better gauge of each other. We've known everybody's strengths and weaknesses, whereas when we played India, we hadn't played them for 18 months in one-day cricket. So that's all it is.
Hauritz pointed towards recent comments made jokingly by England spinner Graeme Swann as the way to sum up both teams ahead of the game.
He added: “As Swanny said in the press conference, they’ve got the momentum, they won the last game. So we’ll probably go from there.”