When you’re the most successful cricketing nation in the history of the sport – lofty expectations come as a result. This year’s T20 World Cup wasn’t any different, with the Australian side entering the tournament as the favourites in the t20 world cup betting lines – even though their recent performances in the short form of the game didn’t particularly justify it.
After a 2-0 loss at the hands of England and a further defeat to India in their final warm-up game before the World Cup – the Andrew McDonald-coached side couldn’t have had worse preparation. However, with the World Cup on home soil and a squad filled with players who have plenty of experience in major tournaments, the bookies and punters clearly felt they could rapidly turn their form around.
While they have managed to win two of their opening three games (at the time of writing), their performances have been far from convincing. Additionally, they have one of the worst net run-rates of the tournament at -0.304 – which has the potential to be the reason as to why they don’t progress to the semi-finals. Their only real test came against Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand, who made light work of them at the Sydney Cricket Ground to win by 89 runs.
That begs the question, what has been the cause of Australia’s inconsistent and oftentimes poor play? There’s no doubting that injuries are a factor, with captain Aaron Finch and star all-rounder Tim David suffering hamstring strains in the aftermath of their must-win game against Ireland. With that being said, there is one glaring reason as to why Australia have been struggling to date – and that is that their two superstars are failing to deliver.
Opening batsman David Warner has been a major catalyst for Australia’s success at the T20 level for more than a decade – however – at this year’s tournament – he is looking more like a liability. Warner has scored just 19 runs on three occasions at the crease this tournament, calling into question whether he still remains the right man to open the batting for the Aussies.
Former Australian cricket great Shane Watson spoke on Warner’s form at the World Cup – suggesting that the 36-year-old might be feeling the pressure.
“Even the times when he’s got out in the first two games you can feel that he’s a little bit under pressure because he needs to really take the game on, even if it’s not the right time for him to do it,” he said.
It’s not just Australia’s key man with the bat that needs to improve, with their strike bowler Pat Cummins also not up to par so far this tournament. The opening bowler was carted by New Zealand’s batsmen in their opening fixture, failing to take a wicket and going for an expensive 46 runs off four overs. He followed that up with another poor showing in their win over Sri Lanka, taking just one wicket and conceding 36 runs.
With such a talented squad and the home ground advantage to boot – it will be one of Australia’s biggest failures at a major tournament in recent decades if they don’t manage to progress to the semi-finals.