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Marcus Stoinis

In this file photo, Steve Smith waves his bat after smashing a century against India in the World Cup semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 26, 2015. —Reuters/File
In this file photo, Steve Smith waves his bat after smashing a century against India in the World Cup semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 26, 2015. —Reuters/File
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Steve Smith : Terrific India Is One Of The Favourites To Win 2021 T20I WC

Steve Smith, a seasoned Australian batsman says a “terrific” Indian team is packed with some serious match winners going into the T20 World Cup, alluding that Virat Kohli’s side will be one of the favourites to lift the title.

India thumped Australia by nine wickets(one retired out) in a warm-up game with Rohit Sharma (60), KL Rahul (39), and Suryakumar Yadav (38) all getting some runs under their belts. Australia’s bowlers captured only one wicket, with spinner Ashton Agar removing opener Lokesh Rahul for 39.

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

Steve Smith: India Has Got All Bases Covered And Has Some Potential Match Winners In Team

Virat Kohli did not lead the side but came out to bowl as India was still figuring out their sixth-bowling option. India fine-tuned its T20 World Cup preparations with a convincing nine-wicket win over Australia in its final warm-up game at ICC cricket Academy Stadium. 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.

Suryakumar Yadav (38 not out off 27) came at number three in Virat Kohli’s absence and got valuable time in the middle, which should boost his confidence going ahead. Finally, Hardik Pandya (14 not out off 8) came at four to finish the game, and he did it with a clean hit over the bowler’s head.

“They’re a terrific side, they have got all bases covered and some serious match winners in there,” Smith was quoted as saying.

“They’ve obviously been playing in these conditions during the last couple of months with the IPL so they’ll be used to that,” he added.

India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI
India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI

India went off to a flier in the opening stages of the game as the spinners headed by Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Rahul Chahar took four out of the five wickets. Australia then went on to set a target of 153, thanks to the heroics of Marcus Stoinis’ quick-fire 41 and Steve Smith’s well-made 57.

Steve Smith Has Not Played Many IPL 2021 Games At UAE But Played A Lot At Nets To Get Used To The Conditions

Steve Smith himself scored 57 off 48 balls in the game, crossing the 50-run mark for the first time since he struck 86 for NSW against Queensland in March.

“It was nice to spend a bit of time in the middle again. It’s never easy when you’re three down. You have to rebuild for a period there and I thought we did that pretty well. The partnerships with Stoin (Marcus Stoinis) and Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) were obviously important.”

Steve Smith Image Source : TWITTER/DELHICAPITALS
Steve Smith Image Source: TWITTER/DELHICAPITALS

Steve Smith, who had given the tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh due to an elbow injury, said he is feeling “good and ready to go now”. He featured in two games for the Delhi Capitals in the second leg of the recently concluded IPL 2021.

“I haven’t obviously played too many games with the IPL but I’ve spent a lot of time in the nets and getting used to the conditions, which has been nice,” he said.

Steve Smith has featured in only 8 games so far for the Delhi Capitals, all of which came in IPL 2021 and amassed 152 runs averaging 25.33.

 

New Zealand Cricket Team
New Zealand Cricket Team-AFP
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Gary Stead Brushes Off New Zealand’s 2021 T20I World Cup Warm-Up Losses To Australia And England

Gary Stead, New Zealand coach, has brushed off T20 World Cup warm-up losses to Australia and England, believing the Black Caps got just what they wanted out of the games as they prepare for their tournament opener against Pakistan on October 26.

New Zealand, one of the favourites to win the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, has suffered back-to-back losses in their warm-up matches. Wednesday’s 13-run defeat at the hands of England in Abu Dhabi followed a final-over thriller against Australia (win by 3 wickets) on Monday.

Gary Stead - Getty Images
Gary Stead – Getty Images

Gary Stead: The Three Warm-Up Games Gave Everyone Some Match Time

However, New Zealand coach Gary Stead has brushed off T20 World Cup warm-up losses to Australia and England alongside a narrow win over minnows Netherlands, believing the Black Caps got just what they wanted out of the warm-up games as they prepare for their tournament opener against Pakistan on October 26.

“Really, the three games for us have just been about getting everyone some match time,” Gary Stead told reporters from Abu Dhabi.

“It’s been making sure we’ve slotted people in in roles they might play, and managing our bowlers as well. Three games in five days might not sound much but when you have the heat and humidity that he have here, it’s pretty sapping.”

Martin Guptill - AP
Martin Guptill – AP
Steve Smith made a 30-ball 35 while scores in the twenties from Marcus Stoinis, Aaron Finch, Mitchell Marsh, and Ashton Agar helped Australia through in a chase of 159 against New Zealand with three wickets and one ball to spare. Australia needed 19 off the last seven balls when Ashton Agar hooked a six before in the final over the uncapped Josh Inglis scooped his first ball for four then edged the winning boundary to the third man.
New Zealand made 158 for 7 – after being asked to bat first – on the back of quickfire runs from Martin Guptill (30), Daryl Mitchell (35), Kane Williamson (37), and James Neesham (31).

The Black Caps edged the Netherlands by six runs in their opening Twenty20 World Cup warm-up game on Sunday (NZ time). With skipper Kane Williamson and Mark Chapman both nursing hamstring niggles, Martin Guptill captained a New Zealand side who had just 11 players to pick from in very hot conditions at the ICC Academy in Dubai. Daryl Mitchell top-scored with 40 alongside regular opener Martin Guptill (32).

Fellow all-rounder James Neesham hit 33, assisted well through the middle by Devon Conway (16), who was also taking the wicketkeeping gloves in this game, as the Kiwis posted 154-8 from their 20 overs. In reply, the Dutch got close, ending on 148-8. Leg-spinners Ish Sodhi and Todd Astle claimed two wickets apiece, while Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Adam Milne, and Mitchell Santner shared the other four.

Gary Stead: Kane Williamson Was Rested As A Precautionary Measure After His Elbow Flared Up After Australia Match

Captain Kane Williamson was rested from the England game due to an elbow injury, Gary Stead said.

“Kane’s elbow flared up a bit after the (Australia) match so today was more precautionary than anything,” Gary Stead added.

“We just feel if we can get his preparation right and not overhitting and aggravating it in training, that gives him the best chance of being right throughout the tournament. I think, on the whole, we’re tracking really well,” Gary Stead said.

The Black Caps open their campaign against Pakistan at Sharjah and will also play a qualifier at the venue in their fourth match of the Super 12. New Zealand will play their last three group matches in the space of five days, and Gary Stead said it was conceivable that Kane Williamson might have to be rested at some point in that period.

“There’s always that chance, but we’re still pretty hopeful and confident that if we get (his) rest right now, then he should be right to play,” Gary Stead said.

Kane Williamson. Photo: @ICC
Kane Williamson. Photo: @ICC

England beat New Zealand by 13 runs in their second warm-up match ahead of the IC T20 World Cup Super 12 stages. Jos Buttler was the star with the bat for the Three Lions as he scored 73 runs in 51 balls with the help of 11 fours and 2 sixes.

Jonny Bairstow and Sam Billings made handy contributions down the order to help England score 163/6 in 20 overs. In response, the Kiwis were bowled out for 150. Mark Wood finished with figures of 4/23, while leg spinner Adil Rashid picked up 3 wickets. Martin Guptill played a useful knock of 41 at the top of the order, but the rest of New Zealand’s batters failed to show up.

Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja Image Source : GETTY
Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja Image Source : GETTY
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Aakash Chopra Feels India’s Balance Will Be Compromised With Ravindra Jadeja-Virat Kohli Completing 5th Bowlers’ Duties

Aakash Chopra feels Team India will have an arduous task in getting Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli to complete the fifth bowlers’ duties between the duo.

The Indian team is likely to go into the T20 World Cup with only five frontline bowling options, with Hardik Pandya unlikely to roll his arm over. The likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Suryakumar Yadav might have to be called into action if any of the regular bowlers are unable to bowl their full quota of overs.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: If Hardik Pandya Isn’t Bowling, India Is Pegged Back Somewhat As Ravindra Jadeja Isn’t 4 Over Bowler

While reflecting on Team India’s possible bowling lineup in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra opined that the Virat Kohli-led side might allow their opponents off the hook if both Ravindra Jadeja and the skipper bowl in the middle overs.

He explained: “When you are playing with five bowlers, Jaddu bowls in the middle overs – after the 6th and before the 14th – now if he is also going to bowl in that and you want to get an over from Kohli as well, I feel you will get stuck.”

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source: GETTY

The cricketer-turned-commentator added that Hardik Pandya’s inability to bowl will compromise Team India’s balance.  Virat Kohli was expected to sit out in India’s second warm-up match against Australia, but he instead came on the field and even bowled 2 overs for the team. Virat Kohli conceded a decent 12 runs from his spell.

Aakash Chopra reasoned: “Team India’s balance is slightly awry, let’s be honest. If Hardik is not bowling, the Indian team is pegged back a little. Jadeja, the 4-over bowler in T20 cricket, is still a bit of a question mark.”

Team India has the option to strengthen their bowling by batting all-rounder spinner Ravindra Jadeja at no.6 and playing Shardul Thakur as the seam-bowling all-rounder at no.7. But they are unlikely to go that route as it will weaken their batting considerably.

Aakash Chopra: Varun Chakravarthy Should Have Been Used Better

Aakash Chopra also questioned Team India’s handling of Varun Chakravarthy in their warm-up match against Australia. Varun Chakravarthy conceded 23 runs off 2 overs and went wicketless.

India went off to a flier in the opening stages of the game as the spinners headed by Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Rahul Chahar took four out of the five wickets. Australia then went on to set a target of 153, thanks to the heroics of Marcus Stoinis’ quick-fire 41 and Steve Smith’s well-made 57.

“I feel Varun Chakravarthy should have been used better because if you don’t do that, you will get found out. You are thinking of hiding him and I am saying to give him some confidence because he has not played international cricket.”

Varun Chakravarthy (File Photo)
Varun Chakravarthy (File Photo)

The former India opener turned commentator is slightly worried about the mystery spinner having not bowled much before the crunch match against Pakistan.

Aakash Chopra said: “If someone hasn’t played international cricket and you get him to play an India-Pakistan match straightaway, he becomes nervous. I am slightly concerned about Varun Chakravarthy.”

Varun Chakravarthy played the IPL 2021 final for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on October 15. The team management might have also wanted the injury-prone bowler to get sufficient rest, apart from keeping the mystery spinner away from glaring eyes. He picked 17 wickets in the 2020 IPL season at an average of 20.94 from 13 games and also 18 scalps in 17 games in IPL 2021, averaging 24.88.

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 Has To Get Back Into Form In 2021 T20I World Cup: Brad Hogg

Brad Hogg, the former Australian spinner believes the Australian top-order needs to fire if Australia wants to progress into the knockout stages of the 2021 T20I World Cup competition. The usually reliant pair of Aaron Finch and David Warner are struggling for form at the moment, especially the latter.

Skipper Aaron Finch is coming off a knee injury and prior to the New Zealand warm-up game, he last played in the Caribbean in July this year. David Warner, on the other hand, had a forgettable year after. He lost his playing-XI spot and the captaincy role he had with the Sunrisers Hyderabad. He was only able to score a solitary run across both warm-up games as well.

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: David Warner Has To Get Back In Form For A Poor Start By The Openers Mean Australia Will Be On The Back Foot Straightaway

Brad Hogg noted that if the top order comprising of David Warner and Aaron Finch does not fire, the unstable Australian middle order will be under pressure right away. David Warner didn’t tour with Australia to the Caribbean and Bangladesh mid-year in order to rest for the second half of the IPL and the World Cup but scored just 0 and 2 in his first two games on resumption of the IPL in the UAE and was left out of Sunrisers’ side again.

Aaron Finch himself is entering the tournament after surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee in August. Initially, there were doubts regarding his availability for Australia’s two warm-up games against New Zealand (October 18) and India (October 20), but he scored 24 and 8 respectively in the warm-up games.

While enlisting key players from the Aussie squad on Deep Dasgupta’s YouTube channel, Brad Hogg said: “For me, the key players would be Warner and Finch at the top. Warner has to get in form because if you don’t get a good start at the top of the order, if the openers don’t do the job, you’re on the back foot straightaway.”

David Warner
David Warner (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Maxwell at No.4 is an important component. Josh Inglis should come in at No.6, he has got 360 arc shots and could prove to be a difference in the batting unit. Mitchell Starc is the key with the ball. He has to pick up wickets with the new ball and in the death as well.”

With the bat, David Warner had a rare bad IPL campaign in 2021 as he scored just 195 runs in eight games at a below-par average of 24.47. Since joining Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in 2014, consistent David Warner has crossed the 500 run-mark every season before the current campaign.
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.

Australia will begin their quest for their maiden T20 World Cup title against South Africa on October 23 (Saturday) in Abu Dhabi.

Brad Hogg: Marcus Stoinis’ Fitness Is A Major Concern

Brad Hogg admitted that Marcus Stoinis’ fitness is a huge concern. The all-rounder suffered an injury early into the UAE leg of the 2021 IPL. He returned back into the Delhi Capitals line-up for the Qualifier 2 clash against KKR in Sharjah. Marcus Stoinis couldn’t deliver the success of the previous edition. He played 10 IPL 2021 games, managing only 89 runs and picking 2 scalps.

Brad Hogg added: “Any player’s fitness is a concern for the team and Stoinis’ fitness is one major concern. If he can’t bowl, it is going to put a huge hole in this Australian team. I think the other big concern is who is going to bat at No.3 Steve Smith or Mitchell Marsh.”

Marcus Stoinis (Photo credit: BCCI/IPL)
Marcus Stoinis (Photo credit: BCCI/IPL)

Steve Smith has shown great adaptability on the UAE’s slow surfaces. Mitchell Marsh, on the other hand, has also performed well on slow wickets and made full use of the opportunity he availed with a promotion to No.3. Australia has lost the last 5 T20I series they have played against New Zealand, India, England, West Indies, and Bangladesh.

Notably, team Australia has never won a T20 World Cup and they will have an eye on lifting their first-ever T20 World Cup championship.

Australia Pic: Getty
Australia Pic: Getty
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Some Of The Australian Players In 2021 T20I World Cup Are Undercooked, Says Deep Dasgupta

Deep Dasgupta, the former India opener and wicketkeeper-batsman, diminished Australia’s chances of progressing into the final four of the 2021 T20 World Cup. The Aussies have a tough group ahead of them in the 2021 T20I World Cup, with West Indies and England primed to claim places in the semi-finals.

The Men In Yellow last made it into the semi-finals of the 2012 edition of the World Cup, where they lost to eventual champions West Indies.

Deep Dasgupta. Photo Credit (Twitter)
Deep Dasgupta. Photo Credit (Twitter)

Deep Dasgupta: Pacers Mitchell Starc And Pat Cummins Are Playing After A Long Time, And They Look Undercooked But Top Order Form Is A Matter Of Concern

Deep Dasgupta outlined potential concerns for the Australian team ahead of the Super 12s stages of the tournament. Deep Dasgupta feels certain Australian cricketers are undercooked. Deep Dasgupta feels despite spinner Adam Zampa’s T20I rankings, pacer Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc are playing after a long time and are underprepared.

While speaking on his YouTube channel, Deep Dasgupta said: “The team is good enough, especially if you look at the bowling. Adam Zampa is among the top when it comes to the T20 rankings and you also have Mitchell Starc. However, some of the players are undercooked. Starc and Cummins are playing after a long time and they look undercooked.”

File image of Pat Cummins | Andrew Boyers/Reuters
File image of Pat Cummins | Andrew Boyers/Reuters

“In pitches like these, Smith staying out in the middle is very important and so would Maxwell’s form. The real concern comes in the form of the top order, it is a huge concern,” said Deep Dasgupta.

Australia will kick off its campaign against South Africa on September 23 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, India fine-tuned its T20 World Cup preparations with a convincing nine-wicket win over Australia in its final warm-up game at ICC cricket Academy Stadium.

India had Australia on the mat at 11 for three after Aaron Finch opted to bat first. After a failed attempt at a reverse sweep, David Warner’s barren run had him trapped in front of Ravichandran Ashwin. With his very next ball, Ravichandran Ashwin got rid of birthday boy Mitchell Marsh who played for the turn, which wasn’t there only to edge it to the first slip.

Steve Smith (57 off 48) and in-form Glenn Maxwell (37 off 28) tried to break the shackles with a 61-run partnership. However, after Glenn Maxwell fell to a conventional sweep, Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis (41 not out off 25 balls) got together and provided a much-needed final flourish to the innings.

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. Suryakumar Yadav (38 not out off 27) came at number three in Virat Kohli’s absence and got valuable time in the middle, which should boost his confidence going ahead. Finally, Hardik Pandya (14 not out off 8) came at four to finish the game, and he did it with a clean hit over the bowler’s head.

Australia Have Had A Rough Time In T20 Cricket Of Late: Brad Hogg

Former Australian spinner Brad Hogg also admitted to Australia’s woes when it comes to the shortest format in the game. Australia is coming into the tournament in the UAE on the back of a string of T20 series losses. They have succumbed to the West Indies and Bangladesh away from home recently. With subcontinent pitches on offer in the Middle East, the team will have to put together tight performances for potential qualification.

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.

Despite the poor string of results, Brad Hogg is not concerned about the form of the side, given that they played without the presence of several senior players in Bangladesh and the West Indies. Australia has lost 16 of their last 24 T20 internationals going back to the start of 2020.

Australia’s lost a bilateral series for the first time against Bangladesh, which wasn’t the ideal preparation they needed. Australia’s form has been particularly poor in the shortest format this year, with only two wins from 10 matches on tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh, losing both the 5 matches T20I series 4-1.

Brad Hogg added: “Australia have had a rough time in T20 cricket of late. They did not do well in Bangladesh and had their struggles in the West Indies. But that is not a huge concern for them because they were playing without the big players.”

Pioneers at the conventional 50-over World Cup, Australia have struggled to translate their success to the T20 World Cup. Their best finish came in the form of a finals appearance in the 2010 edition against arch-rivals England.
Rishabh Pant. - SANDEEP SAXENA
Rishabh Pant. - SANDEEP SAXENA
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Delhi Capitals Skipper Rishabh Pant Has Become A Little Predictable: Salman Butt

Salman Butt, former Pakistan captain feels the India team’s dashing wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant has become a bit predictable with his moves at the crease. Salman Butt pointed out that opponents have realized it’s only a matter of time before Rishabh Pant dances down the track during his innings.

Rishabh Pant had a poor Test series in England, where his footwork against the moving ball was exposed. Even in the second half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, he did not look in a great rhythm. Although he scored a decent number of runs while leading Delhi Capitals (DC), he wasn’t his usual aggressive self.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

Salman Butt: Rishabh Pant Has Become A Little Predictable

In an interaction on his YouTube channel, Salman Butt was asked if Rishabh Pant could be a force for India at the T20 World Cup 2021. The former cricketer Salman Butt stated that the southpaw needed to build on his talent.

Explaining what, he felt, the 24-year-old was doing wrong, Salman Butt opined: “He is very moody. Out of nowhere, he steps down and tries to hit out. And, he does this so frequently that other teams have started anticipating his moves. I think Rishabh Pant has become a little predictable. He will need to bat with a more mature mindset. He is so talented and has such a high range of strokes. But teams are aware that he will charge down the track either first ball or after 2-3 deliveries. So he needs to work on that.”

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant (Image Credit: Twitter)

Rishabh Pant ended IPL 2021 with 419 runs in 16 matches at a strike rate of 128.52 with three half-centuries. Rishabh Pant-led DC topped the points table after the completion of the IPL 2021 league stage. However, they failed to make the final, going down to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Qualifier 1 and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Qualifier 2.

Rishabh Pant: Delhi Capitals Alway give 100%

Reacting after DC’s ouster from IPL 2021, new skipper Rishabh Pant tweeted that IPL 2021 ended in heartbreak for the franchise but lauded the team and described them as exceptional warriors. Rishabh Pant has 1 hundred and 15 IPL fifties to his name.

He wrote: “It ended in heartbreak last night, but I could not be more proud of leading this team of exceptional warriors. We battled hard through the season, and while we may have fallen short on some days, we always gave 100 per cent.”

Shreyas Iyer of Delhi Capitals in action during an IPL match for Delhi ©BCCI
Shreyas Iyer of Delhi Capitals in action during an IPL match for Delhi ©BCCI

Rishabh Pant was named DC captain after Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due to a shoulder injury ahead of the first half of IPL 2021. The Delhi management retained Rishabh Pant as skipper even after Shreyas Iyer was fit for the second half of the tournament in the UAE.

Among Delhi Capitals’ performers, Indian pacer Avesh Khan was in scintillating form. He was the team’s leading wicket-taker this season, with 24 wickets in 16 games. The South African pace duo of Kagiso Rabada(15) and Anrich Norje (12) have combined to pick 27 wickets. Axar Patel has been excellent with his spinning deliveries and has picked 15 wickets.

Shikhar Dhawan was the team’s highest run-getter with 587 runs in 16 games, while Prithvi Shaw managed 479 in 15 games. Steve Smith(152 runs) and Shreyas Iyer (175 runs) played 8 matches each. The failures for Delhi Capitals were Ishant Sharma (1 scalp in 3 outings) and Ravichandran Ashwin (7 wickets in 13 games).

Rishabh Pant(419 runs) led from the front. Marcus Stoinis couldn’t deliver the success of the previous edition of IPL 2020. He played 10 IPL 2021 games, managing only 89 runs and picking 2 scalps. Amit Mishra, despite picking 6 scalps in 4 games, wasn’t given many chances to play. Shimron Hetmyer had the best strike rate of the season- a whopping 168.05.

Australia Image Source: Twitter
Australia Image Source: Twitter
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Australia Set Out To Win Maiden T20I WC, Don’t Want Anything Less : Mitchell Starc

Australia has lost 16 of their last 24 T20 internationals going back to the start of 2020, but pacer Mitchell Starc said there was good reason for those disappointing results.

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc has said that not much can be read into the team’s recent poor form in recent T20 Internationals as they have hardly been able to play in the format with full-strength squads. Mitchell Starc said, however, that players are coming into the T20 World Cup in good form from the Indian Premier League (IPL) and they are looking to win the tournament.

Australia Pic: Getty
Australia Pic: Getty

Australia’s Pacer Mitchell Starc Says Australia Didn’t Always Have Full Strength T20I Team Available

Mitchell Starc said there was a good reason for those disappointing results.

“Over the last three years or so, we haven’t always had our full-strength Twenty20 team available,” he told reporters from Abu Dhabi.

“Now we’ve got everyone available we’re looking forward to getting stuck in and hopefully showing the class that we have. We’ve set out to win the World Cup, we don’t want anything less,” said Starc.

Australia's Mitchell Starc
Australia’s Mitchell Starc  Image Credit: AFP

Australia has lost the last 5 T20I series they have played against New Zealand, India, England, West Indies, and Bangladesh. Aaron Finch (knee) and Steve Smith (elbow) have been backed to return from injury for the tournament, with David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins and Kane Richardson also set to be back in action after sitting out the team’s tours of the Caribbean and Bangladesh in July-August.

Australia’s recent form in T20I hasn’t been impressive either as they lost the T20I series in West Indies 4-1 and lost a bilateral series for the first time against Bangladesh which wasn’t the ideal preparation they needed. Aaron Finch suffered a knee injury while practising in the build-up to the T20Is against West Indies, which he aggravated in the fifth game of that series, following which he missed the subsequent Bangladesh tour.

Australia Now Have Got Full Strength Team Available And Have To Play Best Cricket From The Onset: Mitchell Starc

Australia’s form has been particularly poor in the shortest format this year, with only two wins from 10 matches on tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh, losing both the 5 match T20I series 4-1.

“We had some really young, inexperienced players and some young guys… thrown in the deep end really quickly,” Starc explained. “Yeah, not our best tour, but obviously now we’ve got our full-strength team available, guys coming off (the Indian Premier League) in really good form, it’s up to us now.”

Aaron Finch, AFP
Aaron Finch, AFP

Australia has been drawn in Super 12 Group 1 with West Indies, England, South Africa, and two qualifiers. With only five matches in the group and just the top two progressing to the semi-finals, Australia will need to hit their stride in their tournament opener against the Proteas in Abu Dhabi next Saturday, Mitchell Starc added.

“You almost have to play some of your best cricket from the get-go,” he said.

“It’s important for us to play well against South Africa and hopefully carry that through the tournament. It’s no secret that we haven’t won a T20 World Cup, so I’m looking forward to hopefully being a part of our first one.”

Australia will be commencing its journey in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 with a clash against South Africa. With the return of big names like David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, and Pat Cummins the Aaron Finch-led side will be looking forward to gaining back the momentum. Notably, team Australia has never won a T20 World Cup and they will have an eye on lifting their first-ever T20 World Cup championship.

Rishabh Pant Photo: BCCI
Rishabh Pant Photo: BCCI
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Michael Vaughan Thinks Rishabh Pant Will Continue To Captain Delhi After Success In IPL 2021

Michael Vaughan said that the Delhi Capitals might have some tough decisions to make ahead of IPL 2022.

The mega auctions will take place ahead of the 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and former England skipper Michael Vaughan has opened up on the players that the Delhi Capitals (DC) will retain ahead of the auctions.

Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Michael Vaughan Thinks Rishabh Pant Will Continue To Captain Delhi

Michael Vaughan feels that Delhi Capitals will continue with Rishabh Pant as their skipper, as the 23-year-old has led the Delhi side to the playoffs stage in IPL 2021. Michael Vaughan also added that maybe Delhi Capitals’ Head Coach Ricky Ponting feels that Rishabh Pant has got something in him, and the wicket-keeper batsman will continue as the captain for the next few years.

“I think Rishabh Pant will carry on (as captain). I don’t see why you wouldn’t carry on with Pant. He has led the team to the semifinal. Ricky Ponting probably feels that Rishabh Pant has got something in him and Pant could be the captain for a few years,” said Michael Vaughan in a chat with Cricbuzz.

Ricky Ponting is looking forward to working with Rishabh Pant. [Source: The SportsRush]
Ricky Ponting is looking forward to working with Rishabh Pant. [Source: The SportsRush]
The bowling looks like the team’s most potent weapon. Indian pacer Avesh Khan was in scintillating form. He was the team’s leading wicket-taker this season, with 24 wickets in 16 games. The South African pace duo of Kagiso Rabada(15) and Anrich Norje (12) have combined to pick 27 wickets. Axar Patel has been excellent with his spinning deliveries and has picked 15 wickets.

Shikhar Dhawan was the team’s highest run-getter with 587 runs in 16 games, while Prithvi Shaw managed 479 in 15 games. Steve Smith(152 runs) and Shreyas Iyer (175 runs) played 8 matches each. The failures were Ishant Sharma (1 scalp in 3 outings) and Ravichandran Ashwin (7 wickets in 13 games).

Rishabh Pant(419 runs) led from the front. Marcus Stoinis couldn’t deliver the success of the previous edition. He played 10 IPL 2021 games, managing only 89 runs and picking 2 scalps. Amit Mishra, despite picking 6 scalps in 4 games, wasn’t given many chances to play.

Michael Vaughan: Delhi Has The Best Squad In Terms Of Depth

Michael Vaughan added that the Delhi Capitals, who lost the Qualifier-2 to a spirited KKR, might have some tough decisions to make ahead of IPL 2022. The 46-year-old former England batsman opined that the Delhi squad is good, and around six or seven players can be in contention for retention ahead of the mega auctions. Michael Vaughan concluded by stating that the Delhi Capitals have the best squad in terms of depth.

Delhi Capitals
Delhi Capitals (Image Credit: Twitter)

“So Rishabh is captaining again. Delhi is going to have some really tough decisions to make. You can argue that six or seven players should be retained, and how they get down to three, they could look to Ricky Ponting and Co for that. There will be a few players available for whom the franchises will be licking their lips. I think Delhi has the best squad in terms of depth,” concluded Michael Vaughan.

The Delhi Capitals have never won the IPL. In the 2021 edition of the IPL, the Rishabh Pant led side was knocked out of the tournament in Qualifier 2. Under Shreyas Iyer, Delhi lost to Mumbai in the finals of IPL 2020.

Gautam Gambhir has taken a sly dig at Eoin Morgan | Photo: IANS/ BCCI
Gautam Gambhir has taken a sly dig at Eoin Morgan | Photo: IANS/ BCCI
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Gautam Gambhir Questions Whether Eoin Morgan Or Team Analyst Captains KKR In IPL 2021

Gautam Gambhir took a sly dig at Eoin Morgan for making the most of the statistics from the team analyst while taking on-field decisions as the captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) franchise in the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). A remarkable second phase in the 2021 season of the IPL has paved the way for the Eoin Morgan-led KKR side to enter the playoffs stage of the cash-rich league.

Eoin Morgan-led KKR finished a step ahead of defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) on the IPL 2021 points table to secure the fourth and final spot for the playoffs. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) won five games out of seven in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 to complete a remarkable turnaround and seal a spot in the playoffs.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

Gautam Gambhir Unsure Whether Eoin Morgan Captains KKR On Field Or The Captaincy Is Done By Video Analyst Off Field

Speaking on ESPNcricinfo show ‘Runorder’, the former KKR skipper under whom KKR won twice in 2012 and 2014 expressed his reservations about Eoin Morgan leading his side as an on-field captain.

“Morgan’s point of view, I’m not sure because he doesn’t captain, so it’s the video analyst that captains the side. He only just looks at the video analyst, so I don’t know whether he’s the captain on the field or (if the) captaincy is happening off the field,” Gautam  Gambhir said. 

Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan (Image Credit: Twitter)

The two-time IPL-winning captain then shared his views about Virat Kohli’s captaincy in his final season as RCB skipper. Though Gautam Gambhir has not enjoyed a lot of Virat Kohli’s captaincy in the IPL, the former DC skipper admitted that the RCB star has been outstanding for the Bangalore franchise.

“Virat has been fabulous. Honestly, I have not enjoyed a lot of his captaincy, but this time around, he’s been very, very good. Probably the reason is that he thinks this is his last time as captain in IPL, (so) he wants to enjoy it more; he’s just more relaxed. And he’s got the bowlers this time..,” Gautam Gambhir opined. 

As two-time champions, Kolkata has joined Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), and Delhi Capitals (DC) in the final four of the IPL 2021, former KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir has rated all four leaders of the qualified IPL teams in the build-up to the business end of the competition.

Gautam Gambhir: MS Dhoni Is The No. 1 Skipper As He Can Handle Captaincy Pressure Best

Gautam Gambhir also lauded CSK skipper MS Dhoni for scripting Chennai’s comeback in the 14th edition of the T20 tournament after not qualifying for playoffs for the first time in IPL 2020. The former Indian cricketer and full-time cricket pundit feel the legendary CSK skipper is the numero uno captain of the IPL 2021.

MS Dhoni has guided CSK to the playoffs for the 11th time in the cash-rich league’s history. MS Dhoni-led CSK will play the first Qualifier against Rishabh Pant-led Delhi Capitals on Sunday.

Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni
Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Purely from the captaincy point of view who can handle the pressure best, probably has to be Dhoni. Rishabh has the advantage from a point of view that he’s got a lot of experience in the playing XI. If Steve Smith plays, he’s got him alongside. He has got Ravichandran Ashwin who has captained earlier as well… so for me Dhoni is No. 1 at the moment,” Gautam Gambhir added.

Among the four teams that have reached the playoffs this year, only the Chennai Super Kings (thrice) and KKR (twice) have won an IPL title before. DC made their best-ever finish by reaching the finals in IPL 2020, and RCB has been runners-up thrice without clinching the trophy. RCB has played three finals in the IPL but lost all of them (in 2009 to the Deccan Chargers, 2011 to the Chennai Super Kings, and 2016 to Sunrisers Hyderabad).

As far as Qualifier 1 is concerned, there hasn’t been clarity on the availability of DC’s Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis as yet. Still, with Delhi seemingly grooming Ripal Patel as the fill-in, it won’t be a surprise if they go in unchanged. So the one possible change to CSK’s playing eleven could be the inclusion of Suresh Raina in place of Robin Uthappa, who hasn’t made the most of the two opportunities handed to him.

Australia Image Source: Twitter
Australia Image Source: Twitter
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Australia Squad, Schedule, Date, Time, And Venue For T20 World Cup 2021

Australia will be led by Aaron Finch in the T20I World Cup 2021 event. Australia is placed in group A of the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021 which many experts refer to as ‘Group Of Death’. Notably, Group A is a comparatively stronger group as it consists of teams like West Indies, England, Australia, and South Africa and all the teams have full potential to dominate the league. Especially teams like England and West Indies will be a major threat for everyone.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has revealed the fixtures for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021 which will be played between October 17 and November 14. At first, it was scheduled to commence in India. However, due to the Covid-19 scare in the country, it was shifted to UAE and OMAN. Meanwhile, Team Australia which is going through a rough patch will be the team to watch out for in the upcoming marquee event.

Australia Pic: Getty
Australia Pic: Getty

Australia Has Lost All Of Its Last 5 T20Is Series

Team Australia is going through a very bad phase lately, as they have been consistently underperforming and have received massive criticism from fans and experts. Notably, Australia has lost the last 5 T20I series they have played against New Zealand, India, England, West Indies, and Bangladesh.

Aaron Finch, AFP
Aaron Finch, AFP

Australia will be commencing its journey in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 with a clash against South Africa. With the return of big names like David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, and Pat Cummins the Aaron Finch-led side will be looking forward to gaining back the momentum. Notably, team Australia has never won a T20 World Cup and they will have an eye on lifting their first-ever T20 World Cup championship.

Australia’s Squad For ICC T20 World Cup 2021

Among the 15-member squad, the most surprising name is Josh Inglis. Uncapped to this stage at the international level, Josh Inglis is a wicketkeeper-batter adept at playing both as an opener and in the middle order.

Aaron Finch (C), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (VC), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

Travelling reserves: Dan Christian, Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams

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

Australia has named a star-studded squad for their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 campaign, with captain Aaron Finch and Steve Smith among a host of big names returning to action.

Aaron Finch (knee) and Steve Smith (elbow) have been backed to return from injury for the tournament, with David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins and Kane Richardson also set to be back in action after sitting out the team’s tours of the Caribbean and Bangladesh in July-August.

Australia’s Complete Schedule For ICC T20 World Cup 2021

October 23, 2021: vs South Africa, Abu Dhabi (03:30 PM IST)

October 28, 2021: vs Qualifier (A1), Dubai (7:30 PM IST)

October 30, 2021: vs England, Dubai (7:30 PM IST)

November 4, 2021: vs Qualifier (B2), Dubai (03:30 PM IST)

November 6: vs West Indies, Abu Dhabi (03:30 PM IST)

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