Dubai: Australia have found what they were missing earlier on in the tournament — their energy.
In the first two games, they looked like a flat cricket team in all three facets of the game. The last five games, in particular, there has been a lot more energy in the field and to me that’s always a sign that a team is really up to the contest.
Energy plays a huge role in the success of a team and that is what has contributed to the success of Australia’s Tuesday opponents, Afghanistan.
They are a very good cricket team and what they have brought with their energy is second to none. They are obviously a highly skilled team. They still perhaps rely on their spinners quite a bit but the thing that I’ve loved is that they have been consistent with their batting.
The one question mark for me was if they had to chase runs. In the past, it would tend to be a bit shaky at times and they could falter but at this World Cup, they have been flawless in chases.
Australia’s win over England on Saturday was a really good game and they will have been happy to get over the line with their top order not firing.
England have had the wood over Australia over the last couple of years but we are beginning to see a bit of a change there and I was interested by Joe Root’s comment that England are still a better team man for man, given how the tournament has played out.
One step closer
England have got some great players who in a couple of years will go down in history among the best ever in the format. Jos Buttler is a brilliant player in both white ball formats and man-for-man I think they match up against most teams, but they just haven’t got it right at this World Cup.
I don’t think Australia will really care that they have knocked England out, that’s more one for the fans than anything else.
Australia came here with the aim of winning the World Cup and it’s not about which teams you beat. Australia will just be satisfied to be one step closer.
Adam Zampa was outstanding again for Australia. I wrote in my last column about how impressive he has been and what stands out for me is how well he is reading the batters.
With spin, half the battle is knowing when to bowl your variations based on reading the batters and the conditions. He is bowling so beautifully at the moment and he has taken so many crucial wickets.
There will be a lot of work that goes into reading batters, from the backroom staff and the senior players, but the preparation that he puts in himself is right up there as well.
At times, you can get caught when you play against teams or individuals so much that you just sort of go through the motions of preparation at times because you get comfortable but Zamps dots his I’s and crosses his T’s each and every game.
That has shone through in his unbelievable consistency, taking at least three wickets in five consecutive games. He has been probably the premier white-ball spinner for a couple of years across the two white-ball formats around the world, so this is really good recognition of the skill of his craft.
Australia will likely face South Africa in the semifinals, and I think they have what it takes to beat them. The Proteas’ loss against India will have given a lot of teams confidence that if they get it right, they can be all over South Africa.
Finch is a former Australia captain