For a nation that is so successful at cricket, it is truly insane that Australia has not been able to add a Men’s T20 World Cup title to their brimming collection of trophies.
Despite years of success in the format for the women’s side, the men have truly never been able to beat the best in the world on the grandest stage. A lone final appearance in 2010, where they lost to England, and a few semi-finals, the most recent nearly a decade ago in 2012, is the extent of their achievements.
Unfortunately, at least on form, it doesn’t appear like this will be changing anytime soon. Group games against number one ranked England, fifth ranked South Africa and reigning champs West Indies are all daunting prospects. The fact that the Aussies have only won five of their seventeen T20 games this year would fill even the most optimistic fan with limited confidence.
This team does however have the potential to win. Only last year they were ranked the best team in the world in the format. A combination of Covid-19 and constant squad changes have now dropped them to seventh, but surely that form that they sustained for multiple years must be there somewhere?
What needs to happen for that to return and for Australia to ultimately lift the trophy on November 15?
Dave Warner and Aaron Finch both need to start well
When these two are both firing, there is arguably no better opening partnership in International T20 cricket. The fact that they both average over thirty runs at a strike rate in excess of 139 is all the proof needed.
It has however been a very tough year for the pair in the games shortest format, with many now wondering if they are still even the right men for the job. Finch was remarkably not picked up in the IPL auction this year, despite captaining one of the better nations at the time.
Somehow, he came out from that looking even better than Warner. A disappointing season for his beloved Sunrisers Hyderabad left Warner not even being picked for their last few games, with the franchise instead opting to play youth.
His strike rate of one hundred and seven for the tournament was arguably the most disappointing part. It is however clear just how good both of them can be, and if Australia is any chance to win this year, they need to help their country get off to strong starts. It is time for the pair to show why they are regarded as two of Australia’s best ever T20 batsmen, for the sake of their nation.
Marsh needs to prove the doubters wrong
It has always been clear that Mitchell Marsh has the potential, but his lack of consistency has left the public begging for more. This is the world cup where he can prove he is world class.
Marsh is almost a lock to start Australia’s first group game against South Africa and has the capabilities to carry Australia all the way. According to reports inside the Australian camp, ‘Bison’ has been hitting the ball better than anyone in the lead up to the tournament, with Glenn Maxwell predicting that he could be in for a “massive tournament”.
If Marsh shows even a slither of what he is capable of with the bat, he will put the cricket world on notice. This isn’t even mentioning his capabilities with the ball. A big tournament for him, like Shane Watson’s 2012 campaign, is exactly what Australia needs.
Maxwell needs to continue his IPL form
Love him or hate him, Glenn Maxwell is the definition of T20 cricket. A dynamic batter who offers a lot with the ball, he is almost guaranteed to be Australia’s number four come their first game.
After years of questions over his consistency, the critics have been silenced over the past few summers, with Maxwell showing exactly why he is regarded as one of the best T20 players in the world. He is in some serious form with the bat, averaging over forty during the most recent edition of the IPL.
The years of Maxwell playing rash shots seem to be behind us, and we are now left with a mature yet explosive cricket. His bowling is arguably just as important, as his handy off-spinners will be exactly what Australia needs on UAE pitches.
With Australia likely to play a five-bowler line up with Agar as the second spinner, it is doubtful that he will often be required to bowl his four allotted overs.
However, if one of the bowlers is having an off day or if spin is proving effective, his middle innings overs will incredibly important. If Maxwell is firing in both disciplines, the Australians are always hard to contain.
Agar needs to prove his potential
When Australia needs a second spinner for an international T20 match, Justin Langer has made it clear that Agar is his man. With the tournament being played in the UAE it is likely that Agar will feature predominately, bowling alongside fan favourite Adam Zampa.
It is crucial for the Australians that Agar performs to his potential, especially with the ball. Often playing at seven, everyone knows how capable he is with the bat, but it is his bowling that will be key this tournament. With most teams likely implementing a two-spin bowling line up, much of the pressure will fall on the second of the two.
Whilst a supreme talent, and capable of man of the match performances, Agar does have the potential to occasionally have off games where he leaks runs. Even if he does not get regular wickets, a tight economy rate from him is essential if the Australians are any chance of winning this year.
A consistent third pace bowler is needed
Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins need to be in Australia’s side for their first match on Saturday night, it is as simple as that. The pair have proved that they deserve the positions, with this leaving either Mitchell Starc or Kane Richardson to play the role of third seamer. It is essential for Australia’s sake that whoever is picked out of these two has a good tournament.
They do not need to take three wickets per game or bowl at five an over, they just need to be consistent. Expensive spells will cost Australia games when they play against the top nations in the world, and they simply can’t afford games where a bowler goes for forty runs.
Both Starc and Richardson are elite bowlers, and whoever gets the nod will almost certainly perform well. No pressure lads, but Australia needs a big effort from you two.
So there it is, a guide to what needs to happen if Australia is any chance to win the T20 Mens World Cup. The truth is, especially in T20 cricket, even if all the above happen, Australia is no guarantee to win the tournament. Whether it be England, India, New Zealand or the West Indies, each and every team at the competition is capable of beating any other on their day.
It is ultimately going to come down to consistency over the whole tournament that will result in one country winning it all. If the above players can regularly play at near enough their best, they will put Australia in a good position to win that elusive Men’s T20 World Cup. And if all else fails and these players don’t perform, surely we just say that it was a warm up for next year’s home tournament right?