EM – T20 World Cup 2021: Australia’s top order in focus against the formidable South Africa – Firstcricket News, Firstpost


Abu Dhabi: Australia will hope that their lackluster top order can fire from the start when they open their T20 World Cup campaign against a South African team in a Super 12 Group 1 game without the usual pressure plays here on Saturday.

Australia, looking for their first T20 title, enters the tournament after a terrible run and loses bilateral series to Bangladesh, West Indies, New Zealand, India and England.

Many members of the first-choice team skipped recent White Ball tours, in which Australia only scored five wins and lost 13 games. As a result, most of their players had little preparation.

David Warner’s form is a big problem, but the team insists that the opener will change things. His IPL form has been pathetic, having been kicked off the team for the second time this year after 0 and 2 last month. His troubled run continued in the two warm-up games, in which he scored 0 and 1.

Skipper Aaron Finch, who has undergone knee surgery, has just as little match experience as vice-captain Pat Cummins, who has been in the IPL since the first leg April did not play cricket. He even came to the United Arab Emirates later than the others.

They have a solid middle class, consisting of the likes of Steve Smith and all-rounders Marcus Stoinis, the in-form Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh, who can raise the stake at any time and are proven match winners.

Australia has great depth of bowling, which leads to a selection puzzle. Spinners Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa are likely to play key roles in the spin-friendly UAE courses that leave limited space for a number of pacemakers like Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson and Josh Hazlewood.

South Africa, on the other hand, is getting highly motivated and going into shape in the duel after winning three consecutive series against the defending champions West India, Ireland and Sri Lanka as well as the two practice games.

After a revival, the squad does not boast of superstars like the previous Proteas teams , and therefore expectations of winning the tournament are low, which removes the massive pressure that normally casts a shadow on the team at any ICC tournament.

South Africa has many openers at the top (Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram and Reeza Hendricks) and if they don’t play it will be tough for them. The shallow midsection and lack of solid finishers don’t really help the case. Power hitter David Miller’s form is a huge concern.

However, the Proteas have a heavy bowling attack, with Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje taking care of the pace front while Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj are the ones Lead spin department. Dwaine Pretorius and Wiaan Mulder are their sweaty all-rounders.

World number one Shamsi, South Africa’s star performer, has the ability to control the game. He has perfected his variations and is the leading T20I wicket taker this year. He will be the key to the Proteas.

Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc , Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock (wk), Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, W Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Schamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.

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Fourteen years ago, in a world far from masks, viruses and vaccines, a year before the Indian Premier League and months after the broadcast disaster that turned out to be the 50-over World Cup in the Caribbean, T20 started cricket from yet-to-become-Universe Boss’ blazing blade. We look back at the moment that heralded the T20 era.

India will score in the lung opener of the main event against Pakistan on Sunday. The tournament will be Virat Kohli’s last as a skipper in this format and is the swan song for head coach Ravi Shastri.

Finch reiterated that a struggling David Warner, deposed by Sunrisers Hyderabad during the gay end of the Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates, would be ready for the T20 World Cup.

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