Australia seek to keep momentum going

Published: Friday, February 1, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Melbourne: Australia has India firmly in its sights as it seeks to dethrone the Twenty20 champion and be the world's best team in all three forms of the game.

That was the warning from Australian deputy captain Michael Clarke after the home side crushed India by nine wickets in the Twenty20 international at the MCG on Friday night.

Clarke, who believed Twenty20 cricket was here to stay, said Australia was starting to form a side which could wrest the ICC World Twenty20 Championship from India at next year's tournament.

"Obviously the world championship coming up in 2009 so that's our goal to get the right team, to stick with it and hopefully to do as well as we can to win that tournament," said Clarke.

"But I really hope one-day cricket stays because I think it's a different game. I know our team enjoys playing both forms so hopefully there's enough room in this game for all three forms of the game."

It was a smooth night in the captain's seat for Clarke, who was deputising for an injured Ricky Ponting.

His bowlers skittled India for 74, the second lowest total in Twenty20 international history, before Clarke, with the help of Adam Gilchrist and Brad Hodge, led Australia to victory inside 12 overs.

While the majority of the 84,000-strong crowd would have been stunned with the ease of the victory, Clarke was not.

"I think our preparation was spot on for this game. And our execution was exactly how we wanted it," said Clarke, who stressed Ponting could have orchestrated the same result had he played.

"I think we'll see more and more of that from the Australian Twenty20 team. Like I said we're working to becoming the world's best Twenty20 side and I think tonight was a great start beating the world champions."

The win was a massive fillip for the Australians, who open their Commonwealth Bank Series against India in Brisbane on Sunday.

"I think we'll take a lot of momentum and certainly confidence into the one-day series. I think that was our goal coming into this game," Clarke said.

"We wanted to perform as well as we possibly could, win the match and take some confidence into what's going to be a fantastic one-day series."


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