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Australia's Aaron Finch (L) and teammate David Warner (R) are expected to open throughout the World Cup. Photo: AFP
Australia's Aaron Finch (L) and teammate David Warner (R) are expected to open throughout the World Cup. Photo: AFP
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David Warner Thrives On Criticism, Says Aaron Finch

David Warner might be a polarizing figure, but the aggressive opening batsman is rarely boring with his batting, and his heroics for Australia at the recently concluded Twenty20 World Cup signalled he is back to his explosive best.

Now aged 35 years, the larger-than-life opener David Warner boasts an average just shy of 50 from his 86 Tests, with his swashbuckling presence able to turn a game into its head.

David Warner (Associated Press)
David Warner (Associated Press)

David Warner’s Record In Australia Is Feared: James Anderson

Even England pace bowler and fellow veteran James Anderson, who will go eyeball to eyeball with his old foe when the Ashes 2021/22 begins on December 8 in Brisbane, has grudging respect.

“We’ve played so much cricket against David Warner, we know you can never say you’re actually on top of him — he’s that good of a batter, he’s got that much quality,” Anderson said.

“His record in Australia is ridiculous, so we know it’s going to be a different animal to the one we faced in 2019 in our summer.”

James Anderson
James Anderson (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

An attacking left-hander, David Warner, will feel he has unfinished business after a miserable Ashes, the last of which came on English soil in 2019 where he tallied just 95 runs at an average of only 9.5 in 5 Tests. Stuart Broad was his nemesis, dismissing him seven times. But as James Anderson alluded to, his form in Australia is enviable.

David Warner has scored 4,551 of his 7,311 Test runs at home, smacking 18 centuries at an average of 63.20 from his 45 Tests, plundering the highest score of unbeaten 335.

David Warner Is Important Batsman At The Top Of The Batting Order: Greg Chappell

Former Australian captain Greg Chappell warned that he should never be underestimated.

“Many had written him off before the T20 World Cup, only to have him prove how important he is at the top of the order,” he said, referring to Warner finding form again in leading Australia to the title last month.

“I think he is even more important in the Test line-up,” added Chappell.

“A skilful, fast-scoring opening batsman can be invaluable in setting up the game. Teams with aggressive openers cause opposition captains and bowlers to toss and turn at night.”

David Warner made a modest debut in Brisbane 10 years ago but then carried his bat with a career-defining century in his second game at Hobart to signal his arrival. He went on to establish himself as one of the best all-format openers in the world before it all came crashing down and his reputation was trashed.

Greg Chappell
Greg Chappell.

David Warner was cast as the villain in the infamous “Sandpaper-gate” ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in 2018, having conspired with Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith to alter the ball during the third Test in Cape Town. He was then widely seen as a central figure in the cultural crisis that engulfed Australian cricket.

He was stripped of the vice-captaincy and banned from ever holding a leadership role again in the team besides being banned for a year. David Warner served a 12-month ban before being called up again and promptly picked up where he left off, enjoying a prolific one-day World Cup before his poor Ashes series in 2019 that again had the critics writing him off.

But in typical fashion, he bounced back emphatically by scoring an epic unbeaten 335 against Pakistan in Adelaide later that year.

Another lean spell this year cost him his place on his Indian Premier League team Sunrisers Hyderabad, but once more, he proved the doubters wrong with his 2021 T20I World Cup exploits. Aaron Finch, the skipper of Australia’s triumphant T20 team, said David Warner thrived on criticism.

“Can’t believe people wrote him off. That’s when he plays his best cricket. It was almost like poking the bear.”

Former Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) captain David Warner has confirmed the franchise has released him despite his stellar campaign in the T20 World Cup 2021, where he bagged the Player of the Tournament award for 289 runs in seven matches for Australia. IPL 2021 has been the Australian’s worst season ever with just 195 runs in 8 games, with two fifties, averaging 24.38, and striking at 107.73.

File image of Pat Cummins | Andrew Boyers/Reuters
File image of Pat Cummins | Andrew Boyers/Reuters
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Australia Will Take Confidence Into Ashes After Winning Maiden T20I World Cup: Pat Cummins

Australia is absolutely “buzzing” after clinching their maiden T20I World Cup title defeating New Zealand in the final. It will bring that confidence into their Ashes 2021/22 series against England, fast bowler Pat Cummins said on Wednesday.

Australia beat New Zealand by eight wickets in the T20 decider on Sunday and has six players from the championship-winning outfit in their Ashes squad.

Australia- Aaron Finch's team beat New Zealand in the final to win their maiden T20 World Cup title (ICC)
Australia- Aaron Finch’s team beat New Zealand in the final to win their maiden T20 World Cup title (ICC)

Australia Will Take Confidence From Winning T20I World Cup 2021: Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins, who, along with fellow quicks Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, shared in the triumph in Dubai, said capturing the elusive title was a huge spur for the home summer.

“Absolutely, I think we’ll take confidence from it,” vice-captain Cummins told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s a different format but you saw somebody like (batter) Davey Warner, player of the tournament, that’s going to have huge confidence for him going into the summer.”

Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates during a match against England in the 2019 Ashes, in London. File photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates during a match against England in the 2019 Ashes, in London. File photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

“As an Australian side, I think we all probably felt like we’ve underperformed a little bit in the last few years, haven’t won as many games as we’d probably expect. So to get back out and win a title on the world stage … it can be era-defining for a side. So everyone’s just absolutely buzzing, really excited for what’s next.”

Australia has not played a test since losing to India at the Gabba in January, which saw the hosts fall to a 2-1 series defeat as the tour to South Africa and the one-off Test against Afghanistan didn’t happen. As a result, the World Cup-winning players arrived home on Tuesday and have little time to get accustomed to red-ball cricket.

Currently undergoing a two-week COVID-19 quarantine in southern Queensland, they are able to train with each other during their isolation but will have only one three-day warmup match with other squad players in Brisbane before the Dec. 8 Ashes opener at the Gabba.

Pat Cummins Feels Fresh, And There’s No Niggles

Pat Cummins played down concerns that Australia might be underprepared.

“I always feel it’s better to be underdone than overdone coming into a big Test series,” he said.

“My body feels as good as it has in a couple of years. There’s no niggles, I feel really fresh. I think we’ve given ourselves the best chance to bowl plenty of overs and do well this summer.”

Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates scoring his century (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates scoring his century (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Veteran Usman Khawaja and middle-order batsman Travis Head were recalled to Australia’s squad for the opening two Ashes Tests against England Wednesday, with incumbent number five Matthew Wade axed. Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson were also in the 15-man line-up as back-up for the fast-bowling attack of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood after the shock retirement of James Pattinson last month.

Marcus Harris, as expected, got the nod in the absence of concussion-hit Will Pucovski and is expected to open alongside David Warner, fresh from his exploits in helping Australia win the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday. But there was no place for his fellow World Cup standout performer and Man of the final Mitchell Marsh, despite calls for the all-rounder to be given another chance at Test level.

Usman Khawaja, who has scored 2877 runs in 44 Tests at an average of 40.66, has not played for Australia since August 2019. Usman Khwaja had since played 44 Test, 40 ODI, and 9 T20I matches for Australia.

Australia's David Warner (Associated Press)
Australia's David Warner (Associated Press)
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David Warner Felt Hurt After Being Stripped Of SRH Captaincy And Axed Without Fault

David Warner played a key role in helping the Australian side win their maiden T20I World Cup in the 2021 edition. The left-hander emerged as the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament, scoring 289 runs in 7 innings at a superb average of 48.17. David Warner also won the Player of the Tournament award.

And now, David Warner has opened up on being stripped from captaincy and being dropped from the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) side in the IPL 2021, and how he put this setback behind him and won the Player of the Tournament award.

David Warner
David Warner. (Photo by Michael Steele-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

David Warner Isn’t Complaining After Being Stripped Of Captaincy And Axe From The Sunrisers Hyderabad Franchise In IPL 2021

The Aussie left-hander stated that he was hurt when he was dropped from the SRH side for no fault of his. Adding that he does not want to complain, the 35-year-old said that the Indian fans have always supported him, and he plays to entertain the fans of the game.

“When you are dropped from the team you have loved the most for years without any real fault of yours and stripped of captaincy without being given a reason, it hurts. At the same time there are no complaints. The fans in India have always been there for me and it is for them that you play. We play to entertain. We play to push for excellence,” said David Warner in a chat.

David Warner
David Warner (Image Credit: Twitter)

David Warner also said that even though he did not find a spot in the SRH playing XI, he continued to give his best and put in a lot of hard work in training. The left-hander also added that he was batting extremely well in the nets.

“Whatever may have been the reason for me not finding a spot in an IPL team, I can tell you I was training the hardest I ever did. I didn’t not miss a single day. I was batting extremely well in the nets and it was only a matter of time before it all started to work out,” added Warner.

IPL 2021 has been David Warner’s worst season ever with just 195 runs in 8 games, with two fifties, averaging 24.38, and striking at 107.73. As the IPL 2021 season resumed in UAE, the Aussie opener featured in the first two games for SRH but aggregated just 2 runs.

David Warner has been SRH’s star opener for a number of years, having carried the weight of a fragile middle order single-handedly. He was the Orange Cap winner in 2015, 2017, and 2019, having amassed 4014 runs in 95 games for the franchise at a whopping average of 49.56 and striking at 142.59.

He is still the IPL’s 5th highest scorer, having amassed 5449 runs in 150 games averaging 41.59 with 4 tons and 50 fifties. He has hit the maximum number of the fifties in IPL history. David Warner led SRH to their maiden IPL title in 2016 as they defeated Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final by eight runs.

David Warner Will Try To Keep Working Hard As He Knew There Will Be More Opportunities In-Store

David Warner also said that even though he was hurt, he also knew that there was another opportunity coming his way in the form of the 2021 T20I World Cup. Adding that sport is a great leveller, David Warner concluded by stating that he will continue to work hard and stay true to cricket.

“So yes, while it hurt, I knew I will have another opportunity. Sport is a great leveller and if you are true to the sport and keep working hard, you will always have a second chance. I just wanted to keep working the hardest and stay true. I am glad it worked out for me,” concluded Warner.

David Warner plays a shot during his innings of 49, which launched Australia on their way to victory. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images
David Warner plays a shot during his innings of 49, which launched Australia on their way to victory. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

After being dropped from SunRisers Hyderabad’s playing XI during IPL 2021, David Warner turned the clock back during Australia’s maiden T20 WC-winning campaign and was awarded Player of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. He scored 49 and 53 in the semi-final against Pakistan and the final against New Zealand, respectively.

ICC T20 World Cup
ICC T20 World Cup Image Credits: Twitter
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2022 T20I World Cup Day Night Final To Be Held At Melbourne On November 13

2022 T20I World Cup will be held across seven cities in Australia, the ICC has confirmed. The tournament will kick off on October 16, with the final slated to be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground under lights on November 13.

A total of 45 matches will be held across Adelaide, Brisbane, Geelong, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. The first semi-final of the 2022 T20I World Cup is scheduled to be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground on November 9 and Adelaide Oval will host the second on November 10.

2022 T20I World Cup- Sydney Cricket Ground To Host A Semi Final © Getty
2022 T20I World Cup- Sydney Cricket Ground To Host A Semi-Final © Getty

2022 T20I World Cup Will Be Held In Australia, Winners Of 2021 T20I World Cup

Hosts and newly-crowned champions Australia will join Trans-Tasman rivals and 2021 runners-up New Zealand, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, England, and South Africa in the Super 12 stage of the tournament. Namibia, Scotland, two-time winners West Indies, and 2014 champions Sri Lanka will play in the first round. Four more teams will join them via the qualifiers.

Australia- Aaron Finch's team beat New Zealand in the final to win their maiden T20 World Cup title (ICC)
Australia- Aaron Finch’s team beat New Zealand in the final to win their maiden T20 World Cup title (ICC)

The ICC announced on Tuesday that the 45 matches of the 2022 T20I World Cup tournament will also be played in Perth, Brisbane, Geelong, and Hobart for the 2022 event that begins on October 16, just 335 days after the 2021 World Cup was won by Australia in Dubai on Sunday.

The Kiwis-New Zealand did well to put a challenging 172/4 on the board riding on Kane Williamson’s superb 85. However, Australian opener David Warner’s 38-ball 53 and Mitchell Marsh’s 50-ball unbeaten 77 meant that Australia overhauled the target with consummate ease in 18.5 overs.

Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, England, South Africa, India, Afghanistan, And Bangladesh Have Qualified For Super 12s

The tournament 2022 T20I World Cup was initially supposed to be held last year in the same timeframe but was postponed to 2022 following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are looking forward to seeing the return of ICC events to Australia and are delighted to announce the seven host cities for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022,” Head of Events, Chris Tetley said.

Adelaide Oval to host a T20 World Cup semi-final in 2022 AFP
Adelaide Oval to host a T20 World Cup semi-final in 2022 AFP

“Following the success of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020 and a two-year postponement, our sights are now firmly set on planning for the 2022 event in collaboration with the LOC. With 12 teams already confirmed in the line-up, we eagerly await the culmination of the qualification process to see which other teams will join them,” Tetley added.

Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, England, South Africa, India, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh have already qualified for the 2022 Super 12s stage of the 2022 T20I World Cup. Sri Lanka, West Indies, Namibia, and Scotland have qualified for the first round of the event but will need to win their way through to the Super 12 stage against four other qualifiers.

Meanwhile, plans are already ramping up for next year’s event with Australia set to defend their title at home. The Adelaide Oval will host a semi-final at a global event for the first time, on November 10. The SCG, which will host the other semi-final on November 9, has hosted semi-finals for the 1992 and 2015 men’s 50-over World Cups and both semi-finals for the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup.

The Adelaide Oval hosted a quarter-final in 2015 but the other semi-final was at Eden Park in Auckland in both 1992 and 2015.

Australia Pic: Getty
Australia Pic: Getty
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Brett Lee Opens Up On “Underdogs” Australia’s Chances To Win Maiden T20I World Cup

Brett Lee, former Australian pacer, believes with David Warner in prime form, “underdogs” Australia is well poised to clinch their maiden ICC T20 World Cup title this time.

But for that to be realized, Australia first will have to beat firm favourites Pakistan, yet to be defeated in T20I World Cup in the second semifinal on Thursday.

Brett Lee Getty Images
Brett Lee Getty Images

Brett Lee Sense Their Is Belief In The Australia Camp To Clinch Maiden T20I World Cup Trophy

Brett Lee said England are the favourites of the 4 semi-finalists, but New Zealand defeated them by five wickets to reach the finals of the T20I World cup for the first time.

“After almost a month of action, it all comes down to five days, four teams and three matches at the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup 2021. And I reckon this could be Australia’s year,”Brett Lee wrote in a column for the ICC.

“England is the favourites from here but I sense the belief in the Australia camp and I think there is some real momentum there. Everything is clicking nicely ahead of Thursday’s semi-final against Pakistan.”

Australia's Aaron Finch (L) and teammate David Warner (R) are expected to open throughout the World Cup. Photo: AFP
Australia’s Aaron Finch (L) and teammate David Warner (R) are expected to open throughout the World Cup. Photo: AFP

Brett Lee said he had faith in David Warner’s ability to regain form and had a chat with him ahead of the tournament. For Australia, all eyes will be on opener David Warner, who has amassed 187 runs at an average of 46.75 in this edition.

“I was speaking to David Warner before it started and told him ‘I have you down to be Australia’s leading run-scorer, so don’t let me down!’ I did that on the belief that he is a big-match player, a big tournament player and that has not changed. Aaron Finch has found some form, Mitchell Marsh is hitting the ball well and Glenn Maxwell will come good,” said Brett Lee.

In the run-up to the World Cup, Australia had lost five straight T20I bilateral series, suffering defeats against Bangladesh, West Indies, New Zealand, India, and England. However, Brett Lee feels coming into the tournament on a low has helped Australia immensely.

“They have been underdogs in this tournament and going under the radar has really helped them. When you go in as one of the favourites like England, with their history and success, it breeds confidence but also expectations. If England don’t beat New Zealand and make the final, people will be asking questions, just like India, who started slowly and didn’t peak at the right time.”

The 45-year-old former tear-away pacer feels the four semifinalists rightfully deserved their places in the business end of the tournament but pointed out that only one team from the sub-continent is there.

“I think we have the right four teams in the semi-finals and it’s interesting to note that only one of them is from the sub-continent. We thought the conditions would favour the likes of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan but it just didn’t happen for them,” Lee said.

Australia, who were comprehensively defeated by West Indies and even Bangladesh in bilateral T20Is prior to World Cup, beat South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and West Indies and lost only to England.

Brett Lee Reasoned Australians Utilization Of Spin Behind Success

He observed that the unlikely success story for Australia in the tournament so far was the way how the batters handled spinners.

“A key reason for Australia’s success is how they have utilised spin. With the bat, we have some great players of spin and they have shown that in this tournament, but the big weapon is Adam Zampa,” Lee wrote.

“His form spinning the ball has been key and Australia have embraced a different T20 style with him. Before, the method was always to try to score 170-odd and then try and blow teams away with the quicks. But they know they can’t do that in the UAE and introducing a bigger spin element has helped massively.”

Adam Zampa ----- Getty Images
Adam Zampa —– Getty Images

Brett Lee advised Australian players just to enjoy the moment.

“The advice I would give is to enjoy it. Enjoy how far you have come. Focus on the strengths, and the strengths for all four teams are they have done the basics far better than most other teams. T20 cricket is about match-winners, big runs and big totals. But it is also about the one per cent moments,” he said.

“Australia are experienced in these situations. Some of these boys won the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2015 and then reached the semi-finals four years later and that counts for so much in those pressure situations at the death. If you have been there and done it, whether you have won or lost, you will have learnt from that experience and playing under that pressure.”

Another Aussie who will have his say in the heavyweight clash is Adam Zampa (11 scalps). Only Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga has taken more wickets than Australia’s x-factor spinner. Accompanying him will be the pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, and Glenn Maxwell’s tricks.

Pakistan has suffered a big blow with Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik down with flu ahead of the semi-final. It remains to be seen if they will take part in the all-important clash or not.

Sri Lanka, West Indies
Image Credit: Twitter
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ICC Confirms 8 Of 12 Teams To Play T20I World Cup 2022 Super 12 Stage; Sri Lanka, West Indies Out

ICC confirmed eight of the twelve teams that will play in the Super12 stage of the T20 World Cup 2022 next year, following the 2016 T20I WC defending champions West Indies‘ defeat to Australia.

West Indies lost their final league game of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 to Australia, meaning the defending champions’ campaign at this edition came to an end on Saturday. Following the same, automatic qualifiers for the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 are now confirmed.

Out of the 12 automatic qualifiers for the 2022 edition of the tournament, eight of the twelve teams from this year will go through directly into the Super12 stage. As the T20 World Cup 2022 will be held in Australia, they are the first team to go through as the host nation. The remaining seven teams are England, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

West Indies
West Indies. Image Credits: Twitter

ICC Confirms Automatic Qualifiers For The 2022 T20I World Cup In Australia

The automatic qualifiers for the T20 World Cup 2022 are to be decided by the winner and the runners-up of the ongoing T20 World Cup, along with six teams that are ranked next highest on the ICC Men’s T20I rankings by November 15, which is the cut-off date for the same. Therefore, West Indies and Sri Lanka will need to play an additional qualifying round to enter the Super 12 stage of the next T20 World Cup in 2022.

“The automatic qualifiers for the Super 12 stage were determined to be the winner and runner-up of the current T20 World Cup, alongside the next six highest ranking teams on the ICC Men’s T20I rankings at the cut-off date of November 15,” the ICC stated.

ICC- International Cricket Council , AFP File Photo
ICC- International Cricket Council, AFP File Photo

“On Saturday, the teams that will fill those spots were confirmed courtesy of West Indies’ loss to Australia, which means they will sit 10th by the cut-off date, with Bangladesh climbing to eighth,” it further said. 

England, Pakistan, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia are the current top six teams. However, before West Indies’ clash with Australia, these six teams confirmed that their rankings will not go down during the remainder of the 2021 T20 World Cup.

West Indies Slipped Down To 10th Spot In Rankings While Sri Lanka Is Just Above Them At Ninth

West Indies losing to Australia also ensured that Afghanistan, which is ranked seventh at the moment, will not drop below eighth, no matter what will be the outcome of their upcoming games in this edition. With this defeat, West Indies dropped down to the tenth spot, with Sri Lanka just above them at ninth. Bangladesh has risen to the eighth position, thus gaining the cut for the 2022 edition.

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka. Image Credits: Twitter

West Indies, therefore, will have to play the first round of the 2022 tournament to make it to the Super12s. They will be accompanied by Sri Lanka, Namibia, and Scotland in the same. West Indies managed to win just one match in the ongoing tournament, while Bangladesh lost all its games in the Super 12 stage.

Australia Image Source: Twitter
Australia Image Source: Twitter
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Brett Lee Confident Of Australia Bouncing Back From Group Stage Defeat Against England In T20I WC 2021

Brett Lee, former Australia pacer, is confident that Australia-led by Aaron Finch can bounce back from their crushing group stage defeat at the hands of England, who have already qualified for semis, provided their top-order fires in the upcoming matches of the T20 World Cup against West Indies and Bangladesh.

England put up a thoroughly professional display against Australia last week, bundling out the Men from Down Under for 125 before overhauling the target in 11.4 overs to record a dominating eight-wicket win.

Brett Lee Getty Images
Brett Lee Getty Images

Brett Lee: England Was Outstanding Against Australia As Australia Let Themselves Down

Australia has four points from three outings and is under the pump to win their remaining fixtures as South Africa is ahead of them with six points from four games and also has a better net run rate.

“England were outstanding against Australia. The 50-over World champions were just too good in the end, it’s as simple as that. Parts of the game were outstanding for Australia but in other parts, they probably let themselves down,” Lee wrote in his column for the ICC’s official website.

South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )

While Australia has beaten South Africa and Sri Lanka, South Africa has beaten West Indies, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh quite comprehensively.

“Now it’s not all doom and gloom for Australia – I try and look at things from a positive point of view. There are a lot of people saying, ‘he shouldn’t be in the team’, ‘he shouldn’t be batting there’ and so on. “But they say- relax and go about things patiently. I think that’s a really good expression that the team can use just to relax,” Brett Lee said.

“Everything will be okay. I know that there could be changes, they might look to shuffle the order, they might look to some different bowling options but sometimes you just get outplayed and England outplayed Australia,” Brett Lee said.

Australia beat South Africa by 5 wickets and Sri Lanka by 7 wickets before losing to England by 8 wickets. They will play against Bangladesh and West Indies next.

Brett Lee: Australian Top Order Has To Fire As Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis And Matthew Wade Has To Score Runs

Brett Lee feels it is imperative that the Australian top-order, comprising the likes of David Warner, skipper Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, and all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, fires upfront, while wicketkeeper Matthew Wade provides a solid finish.

“The top order has to fire, they have to get runs from guys like Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, who has been in good form the first two games but missed out with a duck against England and that’s part of the game. Matthew Wade has been getting a few runs, getting some starts but Australia needs a big 40 or 50 from him to finish so there are areas where Australia can take some positives out,” he said.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith- Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

While Aaron Finch and David Warner have scored 80 odd runs in 3 games, Steve Smith has amassed 64 runs in the leading run-scorers list headed by England’s Jos Buttler-214 runs. Among leading wicket-takers, Australians Adam Zampa has 5 scalps, and Mitchell Starc has 4 scalps in a list headed by Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga-14 scalps in as many games.

Brett Lee suggested that the Australian openers David Warner and Aaron Finch could try out a slightly different strategy rather than going all out at the beginning of the innings.

“I know the Aussies want to get off to a flyer, I heard Warner say it, I heard it from Aaron Finch and they are two brilliant players, two guys I’d pick in my side every single day of the week. Maybe it’s about taking the foot off the accelerator a fraction at the top. I know that some teams go really hard in the first six but other teams don’t take as many risks so perhaps Australia can do that but I’ll still back Warner every day of the week to go down town first ball if he has to,” he said.

Talking about the Australian bowling unit, he said, “They probably didn’t get the right line or length against England and in this format there are days where the batsmen miss out and the bowlers defend. But when collectively you don’t have your best game, you can see what happens.”

Despite the ordinary performance against England, the 44-year-old backed Australia to lift their maiden T20 World Cup title. Ahead of the tournament, Brett Lee had picked India as the team to beat, but the former pacer feels England and Pakistan are top contenders.

Justin Langer
Justin Langer
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Justin Langer Has Given Players More Freedom In The UAE During 2021 T20I World Cup: Steve Smith

Justin Langer, Australia head coach, has allowed his staff and players to work with more freedom in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the ongoing T20 World Cup, batsman Steve Smith has said. Australia started the T20I World Cup with a five-wicket win over South Africa, with their bowlers restricting the opposition to 118/9.

Justin Langer has been under almost constant pressure since Australia’s stunning defeat in a Test series at home against an injury-ravaged Indian team earlier this year. Media reports indicate that senior players were miffed by the former opening batsman’s tendency to micro-manage the team.
Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Justin Langer Has Given Players More Freedom: Steve Smith

Australian batsman Steve Smith said that head coach Justin Langer had given the players the freedom to play according to their way. However, a few months ahead of the T20 World Cup, there was a lot of chaos in the Australian dressing room between the head coach and team players. Justin Langer has been under scrutiny after Australia’s dismal T20 tour of Bangladesh as reports of a rift with the players emerged.

“It’s been very chilled. He (Justin Langer) has kind of taken a back seat and just let the guys go out and do their thing, trusting their preparation. The other coaches have been able to come in and do what they wanted to do,” Steve Smith said.

“It has been a really chilled environment the last few weeks, pretty enjoyable. The guys have really got together well. Everyone is really clear in their roles. It’s just about going out there, doing our jobs, and performing well,” he said.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith- Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

Australia scraped through their opening encounter after an outstanding bowling performance and some critical cameos with the bat from Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, and Matthew Wade. Australia opted for four specialist bowlers only with spin all-rounder Glenn Maxwell as the fifth bowler.  Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins played together for the first time in a T20I despite the slow nature of the Abu Dhabi surface, with the plan working to perfection.

Steve Smith: Australia Has A Really Strong Squad Of 15 In 2021 T20I World Cup

Steve Smith said that Australia has a strong squad at their disposal. Steve Smith top-scored for Australia with 35 in their five-wicket win against South Africa in the opening match of the Super 12 stage. Aaron Finch didn’t score a single run off the five deliveries he faced. Despite David Warner scoring 14 runs off 15 deliveries, it wasn’t a strong showing for the batsman who averages 31.21 in T20 international games.

“We have a really strong squad of 15. Even missing out on someone like Ashton Agar was tough considering how he has performed in T20s over the last couple of years. It takes a real strong-squad mentality to win a World Cup. We started well against South Africa but it was just the start,” he said.

Aaron Finch didn’t hit any runs in Australia’s T20 World Cup opener against South Africa. Picture: Isuru Sameera Peiris / Gallo Images / Getty Images
Aaron Finch didn’t hit any runs in Australia’s T20 World Cup opener against South Africa. Picture: Isuru Sameera Peiris / Gallo Images / Getty Images

Australia made a bold decision to leave out Ashton Agar and Kane Richardson against South Africa, who had been automatic selections for most of the last two years in a five-man attack. Ashton Agar is currently the highest-ranked Australian at No. 6 on the ICC T20I bowling rankings.

Australia will face Sri Lanka in their second match of the tournament on Thursday in Abu Dhabi. They are chasing their maiden T20 World Cup title this year, having come closest in 2010 when they finished runners-up to England after losing the final by seven wickets.

Mitchell Starc (Image Credit: Twitter)
Mitchell Starc (Image Credit: Twitter)
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T20 World Cup 2021: Australia Not Much Concerned Over Mitchell Starc’s Fitness Before Sri Lanka Clash

Australia isn’t concerned over the fitness of fast bowler Mitchell Starc ahead of their crucial T20 World Cup clash with Sri Lanka despite him copping a blow on the knee in the nets on Tuesday.
Mitchell Starc was struck on the right knee by a straight drive in his follow-through during Australia’s Tuesday night training session at the ICC Academy. He left the session with a heavy limp and in some discomfort, but was moving without assistance.
Australia's Mitchell Starc
Australia’s Mitchell Starc- Image Credit: AFP

Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, And Pat Cummins Featured In Australia’s Opening Win Against South Africa In 2021 T20I World Cup

Mitchell Starc trained fully on Wednesday with a compression bandage on his knee and also batted and bowled during the session, with Australian medical staff continuing to monitor his bruising. Australia has two matches in three days, as they face Sri Lanka on Thursday and England on Saturday, and management of their fast bowling stocks will be critical.
Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc training with the compression sleeve. (Image: Getty)
Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins all played in Australia’s opening win against South Africa in Abu Dhabi as part of an attack with only four specialist bowlers. It was the first time all three had played a T20I together, having played six times together in T20s for Sydney Sixers in 2012, with the Sixers winning all six games.

Kane Richardson Can Be A Suitable Replacement For Mitchell Starc

Both pacer Kane Richardson and spinner Ashton Agar were left out of the win over South Africa, and coach Justin Langer said the decision was very tough. However, the coach stressed Australia would be flexible throughout the tournament with their selections, depending on conditions and match-ups.
Kane Richardson
Kane Richardson (Image Credit: Twitter)

The pacer wore a compression bandage on his knee for the entirety of the session but was able to bat and bowl without much of a fuss.  Mitchell Starc’s availability is crucial to the side as he is their primary death bowler and also the one that Aaron Finch turns to for wickets early on in the powerplay.

Without him, the bowling attack does look weakened, but Kane Richardson, who was left out of Australia’s first match, can be a suitable replacement. Ashton Agar was also excluded from the playing XI despite being in good nick. Australia head coach Justin Langer stated that it was a tough decision but one that had to be made considering the matchups in Group Of Death.

Although Australia won their first game against South Africa, they had to work hard to overhaul a 119-run target.

Australia Probable Playing XI: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (w), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood

Sri Lanka Probable Playing XI: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera (wk), Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka (c), Chamika Karunaratne, Dusmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
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Brad Hogg Reckons If Pakistan Loses Against India, They Will Not Get Through

Brad Hogg, former Australia spinner, feels Pakistan might be out of the World Cup very soon if they lose their opening game against India.

Speaking to Deep Dasgupta on his YouTube channel, Brad Hogg said that Pakistan won’t be able to turn around their campaign in case of a possible loss as they play their next game in two days’ time against New Zealand.

Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images
Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images

Brad Hogg Backing India, Pakistan, West Indies, And England To Reach Semi-Finals

The former Australian bowler is backing India, Pakistan, West Indies, and England to reach the semi-finals of the upcoming T20I WC. The Super 12s stage of the 2021 T20 World Cup is set to get underway this week.

“If Pakistan gets beaten by India in the first game, they’ve got a short turnaround to play New Zealand. I think that will be a huge factor in whether Pakistan goes through or not. If Pakistan loses against India in the first game, I don’t think they will get through, India will get through. So watch that space,” Brad Hogg said.

Meanwhile, Brad Hogg sounded quite optimistic about their arch-rivals India who he felt will surely be in the semi-finals, adding that Pakistan will also go through provided that they win against India.

“The teams that I think are going to go to the semis are England and the West Indies from Group 1 and from Group 2 I think it’s going to be Pakistan and India,” Brad Hogg added.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

These are certainly interesting picks from Brad Hogg, who is not expecting his home country Australia to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. England and the West Indies were the finalists of the 2016 T20 World Cup. Meanwhile, India and Pakistan are both looking to win the tournament for the second time in their history having won the trophy in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

India has been outstanding so far in a couple of warm-up games they have played so far. They beat England quite handsomely and then went on to beat Australia as well. India has some issues to ponder, but they look for the team to beat with their top three in prime form. In their first warm-up game,

Pakistan brushed defending champions West Indies aside, crushing Kieron Pollard’s side with seven wickets with 27 balls to spare. Russie van der Dussen hit a stunning unbeaten century off 51 deliveries as South Africa pulled off an extraordinary run chase to beat Pakistan.

Brett Lee Expects KL Rahul To Be Top Scorer and Mohammed Shami To Be Leading Wicket Taker

Former Australia speedster Brett Lee feels India’s KL Rahul and Mohammed Shami could emerge as the top run-getter and the leading wicket-taker in the T20 World Cup Super 12s. KL Rahul has been in sublime form in the IPL where he was the third-highest scorer and his Punjab Kings teammate Mohammed Shami bowled some great spells in recent times including one in the World Cup practice game against England.

Against England in their first warm-up game, chasing a target of 189, India reached 192 for three in 19 overs. Openers KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan were in brilliant form. KL Rahul smashed 51 off 24 deliveries, and Ishan Kishan retired after playing a knock of 70 runs off 46 balls.

KL Rahul for Punjab Kings In IPL 2021
KL Rahul for Punjab Kings In IPL 2021 (Image Credit: Twitter)

In their second warm-up game, India thumped Australia by nine wickets with Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Suryakumar Yadav (38), all getting some runs under their belts. Australia’s bowlers captured only one wicket, with spinner Ashton Agar removing opener KL Rahul for 39.

Rohit Sharma (60 retired off 41) showed sublime touch alongside opening partner KL Rahul (39 off 31) as India chased down Australia’s 152 for five in 17.5 overs.

Mohammed Shami picked up three wickets to deal body blows to England on the bowling front, while Jasprit Bumrah picked up one scalp with an excellent economy rate. Although Bhuvaneshwar Kumar went for plenty against England, he made a strong comeback against Australia, showing that the ability to bowl late swing hadn’t deserted him completely.

Ravichandran Ashwin – who had a rather barren IPL — picked up two scalps in one over early in the innings to scuttle Australia’s prospects of getting a big score.

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