After following up a powerful win over host England with a crushing win over trans-Tasman rival New Zealand, Aaron Finch’s facet head in the direction of the semi-finals in ominous kind.
Maybe the 2 most promising developments in latest weeks have been the selectors discovering the Australians’ most balanced bowling assault, whereas additionally persevering with to disregard ongoing choice recommendation from Shane Warne.
Previous to Saturday’s sport in opposition to New Zealand, Warne was once more calling for the incessantly resurrected Shaun Marsh to be recalled to the facet on the expense of present No.three Usman Khawaja.
Whereas Khawaja has not been setting the World Cup alight, he demonstrated his class in opposition to New Zealand, high scoring with 88 and rescuing the Australians from a precarious place at 5/92 after one other disappointing exhibiting from Glenn Maxwell.
It’s troublesome to think about Shaun Marsh digging in underneath robust stress from the Kiwi assault, notably the categorical tempo of Lockie Ferguson.
Fortunately, Trevor Hohns, Greg Chappell and Justin Langer don’t seem as open to recommendations from Warne as earlier choice regimes, leaving a number of of the leggie’s most popular batsmen out of the squad, together with D’Arcy Brief and Chris Lynn.
In flip, Hohns, Chappell and Langer additionally properly steered away from Warne’s suggestion of putting in Finch as Take a look at skipper, as an alternative sticking with the regular hand of Tim Paine to information the Aussies again from their catastrophic fall in South Africa. One can solely hope this encouraging pattern continues into the Australian summer time and past, with Warne’s suggestions typically effectively off the mark of what’s greatest for the facet.
Bowling clever, it was one other of Warne’s foes, Mitchell Starc, who ripped via New Zealand’s batting order. Following Jason Behrendorff’s five-for in opposition to England, Starc claimed 5/26 from 9.four overs to dismantle the Kiwis for a measly 157, with Behrendorff chiming in with one other two wickets in one other economical show.
Nathan Lyon once more confirmed his worth in with the ability to each comprise and assault batsmen, ending with 1/36 from his ten-over spell, ably backed by a resurgent Steven Smith, who chimed in with 1/6 from his two overs.
With Pat Cummins once more making robust contributions with bat and ball, the Australian line-up is all of the sudden firing on most cylinders, and so they head to the sharp finish of the match as India’s biggest challenger for the Cup.
After beginning the match with various query marks over their line-up, principally because of the return of Steve Smith and David Warner, Langer’s group seem like gelling throughout the board. Solely all-rounders Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis proceed to offer inconsistent contributions with bat and ball. Captain Finch will want extra from these two if Australia are to topple a rampant Indian facet.
Lastly, the type of Alex Carey continues to be encouraging. Coming into the match, Australia missed a trick in leaving Peter Handscomb out of the squad, notably as a back-up keeper.
However Carey’s stable glove work has been an actual asset, whereas his degree head with the bat noticed Australia out of the difficulty in opposition to New Zealand, because the keeper attacked the Kiwi bowlers and turned the innings in Australia’s favour.
With a handful of video games remaining earlier than the semi-finals, Finch and Langer can be thrilled with the combat the Aussies have proven in latest weeks. Whereas the problem of India could show too nice, Australia’s performances via the match have exceeded expectations, and bode effectively for the summer time of cricket that lies forward.