Australia’s poor results in West Indies and Bangladesh have led many to predict a Super 12 exit for them at the T20 World Cup. But the team from Down Under are bolstered by the returns of their top players, including Steve Smith, David Warner at the top of the order, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis in the lower middle-order and Pat Cummins in the fast-bowling department.
That shall help as Australia aim to clinch their maiden T20 World Cup title in dry, spin-friendly conditions – which make for cricket of complete contrast to the fashion that they like to play. With their experience, the likes of Smith, Warner and Maxwell are expected to help Australia overcome their issues against spin on the batting front.
What also helps is that Australia are part of a relatively easier Super 12 group for the conditions in UAE. They are set to face South Africa (October 23, Abu Dhabi), preliminary qualifier A1 (Oct 28, Dubai), England (Oct 30, Dubai), preliminary qualifier B2 (November 4, Dubai), West Indies (Nov 6, Abu Dhabi).
Captain: Aaron Finch
Coach: Justin Langer
Claim To Fame: Runners-up (2010), semi-finalists (2007 and 2012)
Australia Squad for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021
Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
Reserves: Dan Christian, Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams
Strengths: Depending on their form, Australia’s biggest strength will be the trio of Smith, Warner and Maxwell in the top 6. All three players will be heading into the T20 World Cup with great exposure to UAE surfaces through the UAE leg of IPL 2021. Their prowess against spin when in full flow and rhythm can provide a significant boost to Australia’s chances. Maxwell, especially, has looked in scintillating form in recent weeks.
Australia also have a strong pace attack for inside-powerplay bowling in the presence of Hazlewood, Cummins and Starc, the trio of whom could also make wristspinner Zampa’s life a lot easy in the middle-overs if they can pack a punch at the beginning of the innings. Further, Australia have multiple utility options to make-up overs in the form of Marsh, Stoinis, Agar and even Maxwell.
Area of Concern: Australia’s stalwarts, including skipper Finch, Smith, Warner, are all three heading into the T20 World Cup without enough game time under their belt in recent months. For Finch, the World Cup will be his comeback assignment after a prolonged absence due to injury.
Smith and Warner were involved in IPL 2021 with their respective franchises, but they’ve not been a regular feature of their teams’ playing XIs and not had the best of times with the bat. In Warner’s case, the player was sacked from captaincy and dropped as player by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
Pacers Cummins and Starc will also be a touch rusty making the trip to UAE for the T20 World Cup after missing the tours to West Indies, Bangladesh and skipping the UAE leg of IPL 2021. Also, only Starc among the Australian pace trio is renowned for his death-bowling prowess. If the Aussies fail to take wickets upfront, their task of restricting the opposition batting units – especially when facing England and West Indies – will only get tougher.
Key Australia Players
1. David Warner (opener)
At his best, Warner holds an intimidating presence at the top of the order. But the experienced left-hander has seen an evident dip in his form and range in the last couple of years. Warner made only 195 runs from his 8 innings at a strike-rate of 107.73 in IPL 2021. However, opposition attacks will still do well not to take him lightly. Warner is expected to have a second wing to his career and will be taking the field for the World Cup with a point to prove, which makes him that much more dangerous.
2. Glenn Maxwell (middle-order batter & utility off-spinner)
Shedding the cloth of inconsistency, Maxwell has blasted various attacks in IPL 2021 this year. The aggressive right-hander has been a match-winner for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) with 498 runs at an average of 45.27 and a strike rate of 147.33. Maxwell’s great form augurs really well for Australia. In a short turnaround from IPL to T20 World Cup, the batter is expected to carry his great run forward and take opposition bowlers to the cleaners. He can also chip in with some tight overs with the ball when required. Maxwell has a career T20I economy rate of 7.50.
3. Pat Cummins (lead pacer)
Cummins’ exploits with the ball on comeback after a four-month hiatus will be vital, especially in the powerplay overs. Cummins may not be the best of pacers at the death but his bowling in the field restriction phase, the ability to seam the ball at high speeds against new batters, is important to set the tone for Australia. The tall pacer has taken 14 of his 37 career T20I scalps in the powerplay with an economy rate of only 7.09.
Probable Australia Playing XI for T20 World Cup 2021
Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade (vc & wk), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood
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