Clarke calls for focus

Twenty20 skipper hoping to build on summer successes

Last Updated: 25/02/10 1:38pm

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Clarke: Momentum the key

Clarke: Momentum the key

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Australia's Twenty20 captain Michael Clarke is hoping to extend his side's winning run when they meet trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand on Friday.

"I think our batters have performed okay. Our bowlers have performed outstandingly. We have a really good attack."
Michael Clarke Quotes of the week

After whitewash victories over Twenty20 world champions Pakistan and the West Indies, Australia are now eyeing up a third series win on the bounce when they face the Black Caps in a two-match series.

The five-week tour of New Zealand gets underway in Wellington and captain Clarke insists there will be no let-up from his side as they continue their preparations ahead of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in April.

"It's important for us to get that momentum leading up to the World Cup," he said.

"We haven't been as good as we would have liked in this format of the game and we've set goals to continue to play good cricket in all three forms of the game.


"We've been training hard. New Zealand have got a wonderful Twenty20 side and we know we're going to have to be at our best.

"These two games are great preparation leading into the Twenty20 World Cup."

Australia are spearheaded by big-hitting openers David Warner and Shane Watson and the fast bowling exploits of trio Shaun Tait, Dirk Nannes and Mitchell Johnson.

Clarke credits much of his side's success to the bowling unit, where Tait and new-ball partner Nannes have formed a formidable pace duo with quality back-up from left-armer Johnson.

"I think the bowlers win you games in Twenty20 cricket and we've seen that in the last couple of games we've played in Australia," said Clarke.

"I think our batters have performed okay. Our bowlers have performed outstandingly. We have a really good attack.

"We have plenty of pace but we have a good mixture of medium-pacers. Steve Smith is a very good leg spinner and we've a couple of part-timers as well.

"Our combination of bowlers is what's important. I believe our bowlers will win us a lot of Twenty20 games."


And New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori admits the way his side negotiate the Aussie pace trio will hold the key to the outcome of the series.

"That's the hardest thing when you face pace that quick, you almost want to try and match it and try and hit the ball as hard as it's coming at you," said Vettori.

"The guys who have been successful (against Tait) have played good cricket shots. His success has come from guys who have attacked him really hard."

New Zealand's main strike weapon with the ball is Shane Bond, who returns to the side after recovering from an abdominal injury.

Bond, who will also play in the five-match one-day series, has played some of his best cricket against Australia, taking 35 wickets at 14.45 in 12 ODIs against their rivals.

Vettori acknowledges that senior players such as himself, Bond, Jacob Oram, Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum will need to perform if New Zealand are to be successful against a buoyant Australia side.

"I think experienced players always need to carry the side in big games. If we can do that it will give us a chance.

"We know if we don't turn up and play our best game we won't compete with Australia."

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