Australia put down early marker in training for crucial draw

T20 WORLD CUP, 2022

Australia have won just one of their three matches so far, with England's game canceled due to rain

Australia have won just one of their three games so far, with England canceled due to rain © Getty


At one point during Aaron Finch’s long stay in the nets at the Allan Border Field, he received a thumping blow to his thigh. His loud roar of pain, however, was greeted with laughter by some of his teammates, led by Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith, who were not far from the net. However, Finch pushed on, after a few pick comments for them, and if anything, the ball started hitting as well as it has in a while.

Smith entered the same net not long after and was immediately hit on his right index finger, in fact from the first ball he saw from Andre Borovec with a pistol. There, wringing his hand in pain, trying to see if his finger was in danger, Finch couldn’t help but hit back with a quip that the net in question was one designed for pain.

Smith was fortunately fit enough to hit a long shot, which he split into two halves, the first focused more on hitting balls and the second in the central wicket nets, more on trying and hitting it all the way.

It was a similar theme for all batters during Australia’s optional full-fledged training session on a rather sunny Brisbane morning, a day out from the crucial clash against Ireland. Difficult in the challenging nets at the side of the pitch and lots of free swinging from the bat at the center wicket. David Warner actually spent almost 2 hours on it. Not surprisingly, Smith was not far behind.

In a way, the fact that Australia gathered for this training session and made it an all-in practice session also told how and where they see themselves placed in the Super 12s of the T20 World Cup. Not to mention the fact that they haven’t been to a cricket pitch since beating Sri Lanka in Perth, which seems like ages ago. Even the fast bowlers braced themselves against the heat and humidity of the Queensland air to run in full abandon and bowl for at least half an hour each. It was as if Australia were trying to dust off any negative energy left over from the beating they received from New Zealand to start their campaign. Along with the rustiness of not getting on the field since their beating from Sri Lanka, courtesy attacking Marcus Stoinis. And when they left the Allan Border Field, after more than three hours of intense training, you knew they were as prepared as they have been for a while when it comes to T20I cricket.

The Irish had to settle for training on the grounds of the Northern Suburbs, or the Ian Healy Oval, and they, too, arrived at full strength, as they usually do. However, their session was dominated in the early stages over some of them indulging in a game of touch rugby. And that went on for about 40 minutes before they even picked up a cricket bat or ball. The Irish are amazingly even on points, but with a better net run rate than the Aussies. It’s a shame they couldn’t build on their win over England against Afghanistan at the MCG. But they seemed pretty confident that they had their future in their own hands in this World Cup. And their moods and expectations from Monday’s showdown against Australia at the Gabba can be summed up by a support staff member who did something along the lines of: “Those who cite our wins in this tournament because they are upset have not seen how well we’ve been playing for the past 12 months. Let them keep doing it, and we’ll keep surprising them”.

When: Australia v Ireland, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, October 31, 6:00 PM local, 1:30 PM IST

Where: The Gabba, Brisbane

What to Expect: Impeccable skies and some warm weather is what everyone in Brisbane ahead of the World Cup is thankful for right now, especially after some chilly and grim forays into other parts of the country. And we expect that for the game as well. At this time of year, the Gabba always bounces off the fields. And the fast bowlers will love to bowl on it. Runs will be offered as always at the Gabba and it will be interesting to see at what point Australia or even Ireland start looking at the net run-rate scenarios for each team.

T20I Head to Head: Australia 1-0 overall, final match coming at the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka

Team watch


Injured/Unavailable: Australia will have Matthew Wade and Adam Zampa on hand following a Covid scare for both.

Tactics & Matchups:

Australia will hit the Irish hard with the new ball. They were a bit flat and had to rely on some Stoini’s magic to see them at home against Sri Lanka. They wouldn’t want to leave it so late, especially with a team like Ireland, which has the players and skills to pose a credible threat to the Aussies. The percussion for Australia, meanwhile, still needs some sorting, but that has more to do with the specific role defined for each of them.

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


Tactics & Matchups:

Ireland’s strength is Josh Little and Mark Adair’s early push and that’s what Australia will try to upset. On the bat they still seem a bit too dependent on the top 3 with Campher and Dockrell also in good shape.

Likely XI: Paul Stirling, Andy Balbirnie (C), Lorcan Tucker (World Cup), Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Gareth Delany, Mark Adair, Fionn Hand, Barry McCarthy, Josh Little

© Cricbuzz


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