Australia will continue their quest for the first world T20 title when they clash against South Africa in the first match of the Super-12 stage in Abu Dhabi on Saturday (October 23).
As much as Australia has dominated the Test cricket and ODIs, T20 is one format where team Australia has faltered and the closest they came was in 2010 when they were beaten by England in the finals comprehensively. They also reached the semi-finals twice, once in 2007 the inaugural T20 World Cup and the other time in 2012 - both the times they were beaten by eventual champions India and West Indies, respectively.
They are lead by Aaron Finch, who is coming off a long injury and his deputy is Pat Cummins, who was the most expensive player bought in the auction of IPL two years back. David Warner, who will be opening the batting with Aaron Finch, is woefully out of form and struggled in the UAE leg of the IPL as well as the two warm-up games Australia played where Warner had scores of zero and and and seemed to be a low on confidence.
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Former captain Steven Smith will be the anchor around whom the other batsmen will have to play around. However in Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh, they have two dangerous allrounders and both can turn the game on its head.
Maxwell, who scored 513 runs, was the highest scorer for Royal Challengers Bangalore with a strike-rate of 143 and Marsh also looked in good touch in the Bangladesh series where he was the lone batter for Australia who looked in form. Australia will be hoping their good form continues if they need to go the distance. Australia has another allrounder in Marcus Stoins - who too is very handy both with the bat and ball and will itching to show his skills after he injured his hamstring in the UAE leg of IPL.
Their bowling will be spearheaded by Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins - who can run through any side on their day. They have in Adam Zampa and Mitchell Swepson two leggies who might play a vital role on UAE wickets which traditionally helps the spinners.
Whether team Australia can come good only time will tell but it’s a pity that the most successful team in one-day cricket has never come to it’s own in the shortest format.
- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice-chairman of Danube Group