ICC T20 World Cup: Australia bank on bowlers for maiden title

Azeem SiddiquiSports Editor

20th Oct, 2021. 08:54 pm
ICC T20 World Cup: Australia bank on bowlers for maiden ICC T20 World Cup title

Australia enter any big cricket tournament as the favourites to lift the title and over the years, they’ve proved themselves as worthy of this tag by winning titles with ease.

But that is about to change in the 2021 edition of the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup, which might leave a few surprised.

There are multiple reasons for that notion and people can argue for or against that but the reality is the Kangaroos have a rather easier route to the semi-finals after being placed in the Group 1 of the mega-event alongside 50-over world champions England, defending champions West Indies, South Africa whereas two teams will join them after the qualifying round.

Australia were one of the eight teams to directly qualify for the competition and looking at their history,  no other side would dare to commit the mistake of writing them off.

Australia’s strength will be undoubtedly their bowling department where the likes of star pacers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams along with the spin trio of Adam Zampa, Mitchell Swepson and Ashton Agar are more than capable of causing any batting lineup a lot of trouble on a given day.

However, their batting looks a little weaker where will be an overreliance on the experienced campaigners like captain Aaron Finch, opener David Warner, star right-hander Steve Smith and explosive Glenn Maxwell to put a respectable total on the board.

Players to watch out for

Adam Zampa:

Adam Zampa has been a front-line spinner for Australia in white-ball cricket for a while now and he proved himself time and again with his ability to keep things tight and claim important wickets as well. Since the tournament is being played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where the conditions are almost certain to favour spinners, the management will be hoping for big things from the 29-year-old. Zampa has played 50 T20Is for the Kangaroos in his career where he has managed to claim 52 wickets at an average of 23.42 along with an impressive economy-rate of just 6.96.

Glenn Maxwell:

Glenn Maxwell is a renowned name in the world of limited-overs cricket, largely because of his hard-hitting abilities. He is considered as one of the very few matchwinners who can turn things around in the space of a couple of overs with the bat in hand. That’s not it as he is more than handy with the ball with his part-time off-spin and is an exceptional fielder as well. The 33-year-old is coming in the ICC T20 World Cup on the back of impressive performances in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 where he finished as the leading scorer for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) with 513 runs at an average of 42.75 along with the strike-rate of 144.10, which included six half-centuries in 14 innings. Australia will be hoping that Maxwell will produce similar kinds of performances in the upcoming mega-event as well.

 David Warner:

David Warner is termed as one of the best openers in white-ball cricket for quite some time now. In terms of numbers, not many openers can compete with the left-hander which is why it was surprising to see him warming the bench in the recently concluded IPL 2021 where he was a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise. Warner’s form in the T20Is has been great over the last two years where he has the best average — 94.60 — amongst batsmen who played more than 10 innings. Those numbers prove that when the Sydney Thunders’ star in on song, he is unstoppable and that is something Australia will be hoping to see in the upcoming event as well. Overall, Warner has represented the Kangaroos in 81 T20Is where he has managed to score 2,265 runs at an average of 31.45 along with the strike-rate of 139.72, which included one century and 18 fifties.

Recent form

Australia’s recent form in the T20Is have been far from satisfactory which is why not many are expecting them to go all the way and lift their maiden title. Over the last 12 months, Kangaroos have just managed to win five matches out of the 18 played which included 13 defeats. The most concerning thing for the management would be that eight of those defeats came against the West Indies and Bangladesh in the space of 10 matches. Even though Australia are placed in a relatively easier group but the management will be hoping for better performances from everyone involved.

Fixtures

Australia will open their ICC T20 World cup 2021 campaign against South Africa on October 23 in Abu Dhabi. Their much-awaited clash against rivals England will be played on October 30 in Dubai whereas their last round-robin fixture will be against the defending champions West Indies which is scheduled to be organised on November 06 in Abu Dhabi.

What to expect

Australia is a powerhouse in international cricket for more than two decades and despite not winning the ICC T20 World Cup ever, their fans will be expecting them to be once again in the running to win the ultimate prize.

Recent series defeats against the West Indies and Bangladesh might serve could prove to be an eye-opener for the Kangaroos and it will not come as a surprise if they manage to get the better of their opponents in the opening round of the competition.