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SportCricketDesperate Australia eye elusive title

Desperate Australia eye elusive title

Published: 19th Oct 2021 1:31 am

Hyderabad: For a team that dominated the game of cricket for so long – both in ODIs and Tests – not having an ICC Trophy in the T20 format is a big void. It was always a case of so-close-yet-so-far for the team from Down Under.

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In the inaugural 2007 edition, Australia were ambushed by eventual champions India in semifinals. In the 2010 edition, the Kangaroos reached their maiden final but fell at the last hurdle to their arch-rivals England.

The Australians will be eager to clinch their maiden T20 World Cup in this desert country. However, their recent form is far from impressive. The tours to West Indies and Bangladesh turned out to be disasters as they lost both the series in the shortest format. The touring side didn’t have their top players like Steve Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and captain Aaron Finch. However, they are back in the side in this ICC event and are raring to go.

The big advantage for the Australian team is the familiarity with the conditions as Warner, Smith, Maxwell and Stoinis were part of the Indian Premier league teams. While Warner and Finch, who is coming from an injury layoff, are crucial for the batting, in Smith, Maxwell and Stoinis, Australia have good fire power. The aggressive left-handed Warner’s loss of form could be a cause of concern for the Aussies. But Maxwell has been in super form in the IPL and that could come as handy for the Australians. The ability of these top three players – Warner, Smith and Maxwell – to tackle spinners on these spin-friendly conditions is an added advantage.

Adding to that, the bowling unit possesses the likes of vice-captain Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, who are known for their express pace. It will be interesting to see how these quickies perform on slow turning wickets of the UAE. The off-spinners of Maxwell and leggies from Adam Zampa will be crucial for their successful journey.

But the problem for the Finch-led side is, most of their star players are coming into the event without much game time. Though Warner and Smith were part of their respective IPL franchises, they failed to feature regularly in the playing XI. Warner was stripped of captaincy and dropped from the Sunrisers Hyderabad team while Cummins and Starc missed Windies and Bangladesh tours and skipped IPL.

If these key players can overcome the rustiness early in the tournament, Australians are a tough team to beat.

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