Battered Australia seek quick turnaround

T20 WORLD CUP, 2022

Australia went to New Zealand by a large margin. © AFP

It has rarely been easy for a team to enter the T20 World Cup with the defending champion’s label. In the past six editions, a T20 World Cup winner has only reached the semi-finals of the ensuing event twice. India, England, Sri Lanka and the West Indies would have been aware of this, having failed to make it to the final four stages in 2009, 2012, 2016 and 2021 respectively. Even Pakistan and the West Indies, who reached the semifinals in 2010 and 2014, did not progress. Now it’s Australia’s turn. Which club do they go to?

In a strong group where a setback can be quite costly for any team, Australia was given an 89-point beating by New Zealand in the Super 12 opener. With a net run rate of -4.45, and other teams starting out winning, Australia has not done their job. The top order, who failed to make ends meet in an important meeting, will have to pull the socks off – starting with skipper Aaron Finch. Australia’s bowling, one of their stronger suits, didn’t fare well against the Black Caps, but the home side are counting on Josh Hazlewood’s record against Sri Lanka’s top three to keep them under control. Australia will also hope that Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, who have collected just 10 wickets between them in power play since 2021, can improve their record in the competition.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup campaign is quite similar to their Asia Cup journey. The wake-up call they received after the loss to Afghanistan propelled them to the Asian Cup title and they also got a similar impulse in Australia. Starting off with a loss to Namibia in the group stage, Sri Lanka have racked up three wins at the trot, which will give them confidence to take on the hosts. Maheesh Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga led with the ball, which was followed by good punches from Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva and Charith Asalanka in a clinical nine-wicket win against Ireland to kick-start their Super 12 assignments. While Australia is much stronger compared to Ireland, Sri Lanka will take their chances against a battered team looking for a new direction.

When: Tuesday, October 25 at 7:00 PM local time (4:30 PM IST)

Where: Optus Stadium, Perth

What to expect: England placed 208 against Australia in a bilateral T20. I played here recently and the chasing side got pretty close, up to 200. On the other hand, Afghanistan was bundled up for a low 112 by England, who had to sweat to open the Super 12 game in their chase. The temperature is expected to drop to 15 degrees Celsius at night.

Head to Head: Australia won 15 of the 25 times they played against Sri Lanka in T20Is. Ten of those wins have been won since 2019 and they enjoy a 3-1 record in the T20 World Cups.

Team watch:

Australia:

Injured/unavailable: Australia has no worries about injuries en route to this match. They’ve also received a boost in terms of Mitchell Marsh’s bowling fitness, with the all-rounder saying, “I’m available to bowl. I love preparing as an all-rounder and making sure I’m in all the time. the game is on.”

Tactics/Matchups: Given that Australia has a lone southpaw in the top six in David Warner, who is important for the game against Hasaranga, Finch playing the role of aggressor could be a good fit for the hosts.

Possible XI: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood

Sri Lanka:

Injured/unavailable: Pathum Nissanka missed the game against Ireland due to a groin injury. Should he recover in time, Ashen Bandara will probably give way.

Tactics/Matchups: Maheesh Theekshana has kept Finch quiet in the past, conceding just 44 runs in 56 deliveries he bowled to the Australian captain. Sri Lanka could introduce him to the power play, with his right arm off spin also serving as a favorable match-up against Warner.

Possible XI: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Binura Fernando, Lahiru Kumara

Did you know?

– Sri Lanka’s openers have collectively scored seven half-centuries in the last nine T20Is and have been key to winning eight of those matches

– Australia had won 13 consecutive T20Is since the start of the last World Cup, but in their last four chases they have lost three, one of which ended in a nil result

– Since the last week of September, Australia has competed in six series in various formats, including the T20 World Cup

What they said:

“I’m sure it won’t run as much as there (in Sri Lanka), so that’s a plus in itself. I think overall our team and the way we play, we’re running really well.” in Australian conditions. I look forward to that challenge, but we know they are two world class bowlers. And Sri Lanka is a very dangerous side, so we’ll have to make up for our match-ups and make sure we’re on” – Mitchell Marshversus the Sri Lankan spinners

© Cricbuzz

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