You can never write off Australia. They are comeback kings. Even when Australia lost their first two matches in the Cricket World Cup 2023, I was confident that the Baggy Greens would make a comeback. And they did.
Australia not only won their last four games handsomely, they also posted 300-plus totals in the last three. Captain Pat Cummins will also take comfort from how his team weathered the enthusiastic chase of New Zealand. With eight points from six matches, Australia are better placed than other teams to take the fourth semifinal slot behind India, New Zealand and South Africa.
How Australia fixed their batting
How did the Aussies turn around their fortunes after losing the first two games? It was quite simple: they fixed the batting. After the losses to India and South Africa, David Warner and Mitchell Marsh found the scoring touch, and Australia never looked back.
Batting was the bulwark on which the victories were built. Warner struck two centuries and Marsh one to return Australia to the winning ways. Soon Glenn Maxwell lashed the fastest ton in World Cups, besting Aiden Markram’s two-week-old record. And Travis Head got off the plane to hammer a century.
The Adam Zampa effect on bowling
The Australian batting is ticking along nicely. But there’s one problem. The middle-order hasn’t been clicking apart from Maxi’s blitzkrieg. Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, who had held the innings together in the games Australia lost, haven’t been among the runs lately. That must be a concern for Cummins and head coach Andrew McDonald.
The bowling has become sharper with Adam Zampa rediscovering his form and fitness. The leg-spinner has been picking up wickets regularly, stifling opponents in the middle overs. That has allowed the pace pack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Cummins to halt the run chases.
Australia also has some good allrounders. Maxwell shares some of Zampa’s spin duties, while Marsh has been able to take some load off the pace bowlers. Both have been bagging wickets. So a quality player like Marcus Stoinis is forced to cool his heels on the benches; he played Pakistan but picked up a calf injury.
Cummins have every reason to be happy with Australia’s progress. More work has to be done to beef up the middle order, and they miss another specialist spinner.
If Australia make the last four, it will be difficult to stop them. Remember the 2021 Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE: they rallied from early losses to sneak into the last four and took down Pakistan and New Zealand to win the title. A similar scenario cannot be ruled out.
Australia are five-time champions. They know a thing or two about winning trophies. So don't write them off.