Veteran Shane Watson is struggling with his batting form and was visibly uncomfortable against Pakistan in the third quarter-final at Adelaide on Friday, but the media Down Under is backing their all-rounder nevertheless. “Shane Watson has played an innings that scorebooks could never do justice to,” wrote the Weekend Australian of Watson’s scratchy but unbeaten 66-ball 64 against the Pakistanis the previous night. The 33-year-old struggled against Pakistan’s on-fire pacer Wahab Riaz’s short stuff and even ballooned a top-edge, when on just four, which Rahat Ali put down close to the fence. “Watson, axed by selectors seemingly for good, earlier in this tournament, produced one of the defining innings of his career,” said, who also went on to call him a “warrior” who “dug Australia out of perilous trouble”.

Shane Watson avoids a bouncer from Pakistan’s pacer Wahab Riaz in Adelaide on Friday. Pic/AFP

Watson did manage to finally hit Riaz for a six, but that was only after he had somehow reached 50 and the Australians had no more than 21 to get from 18 overs with six wickets in hand.

Maxwell: This feels like the IPL
Australia big-hitter Glenn Maxwell was pleasantly surprised to a sizeable number of journalists waiting for him at the Qantas arrivals lounge of Sydney’s domestic airport here on Saturday for a scheduled interaction. Maxwell landed with some members of the Australian team after beating Pakistan in the third quarter-final of the ICC World Cup the previous night in Adelaide. More than half of the two dozen-odd mediapersons gathered were Indian, eagerly anticipating the Australian player’s comments ahead of Thursday’s second semi-final between defending champions India and the hosts at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The group walked alongside Maxwell and then immediately surrounded him as soon as he moved aside from the rest of his teammates. Then, as the journos began preparing their respective cameras, microphones and dictaphones, a beaming Maxwell said: “This (crowd) feels I’m in like India... just like the IPL (Indian Premier League).” The group cracked up and the interaction kicked off with a laugh.

The man who makes Aussies run
Former Australia top-order batsman Greg Blewett (43) seemed a bit ruffled on Saturday as he moved aside from the Australian team after arriving with them in Sydney from Adelaide and headed straight for Qantas’ baggage services department. He was looking for his bags that did not come on the baggage collection belt. “I checked in separately and not with the team as I was coming from home (Adelaide), and now my bag hasn’t come through on the belt. I guess it’s gone with the rest of the team’s bags directly from the airport to the hotel. That’s fine, but I just need to re-confirm that this is the case,” he told SUNDAY mid-day. And right enough the baggage services attendant told him that his bags had been loaded with the team’s baggage and sent to their hotel, bringing a smile to face of the Australian fielding coach. When asked what it was like to conduct the team’s fielding drills, Blewett smiled and replied: “It’s great fun to be the man who makes the Aussies run.”