In their final league game against South Africa, Australia suffered a disappointing loss. Their only other failure during the league stages came against India when they fell short by 36 runs. Other than that, the Kangaroos have been clinical in their approach and have played some great cricket throughout. Yet, there are a few issues that are still bothering them even as they are about to play the semi-final.
The middle-order still seems to be a massive weak link in this line-up. There haven’t been many big partnerships and Alex Carey is the only one who is performing on a consistent basis. If this was not enough, Australia is bogged down by several injuries with Usman Khawaja also ruled out of the tournament now. Thus, there are some inevitable changes to be made by the five-time champions for this critical encounter.
Here is the Predicted Playing XI for Australia
Openers (Aaron Finch (c), David Warner)
Aaron Finch hasn’t managed to get a big score for two games in a row now. Some of his flaws were exposed and England might as well try to attack him with a leg-spinner early on. But against this same opposition, he scored a terrific hundred a few days ago. Finch will want to repeat the same kind of heroics once again and lead his team into the final.
David Warner has been Australia’s best batsman this tournament. He has batted with great maturity and a lot of responsibility. The left-hander scored a brilliant hundred in the last outing and would want to carry on just from where he left off. However, this time, he’d want to see his team get over the line.
Middle Order (Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Alex Carey (wk))
There is some rejigging required in the middle order for Australia. With Usman Khawaja ruled out, Steve Smith is likely to be promoted to bat at three. This is a position that suits the former Australian skipper extremely well and he’d want to make the most of the opportunity. Head coach Justin Langer has confirmed that Peter Handscomb will get an opportunity at all costs.
Thus, Handscomb is most likely to bat at four. This adds the required stability to the middle order. Alex Carey has been in great form and has added quite a few runs down the order. It will definitely be a great choice for Australia to send him to bat at number five with the all-rounders taking up the roles of a finisher.
All Rounders (Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis)
Glenn Maxwell at number five hasn’t been really convincing. Australia should rather use him as a floater and send him into bat only when there are a few overs left in the innings. The 30-year-old is doing a good job with the ball, bowling economical overs and has picked wickets occasionally.
Marcus Stoinis had a long and extended net session where he bowled as he as batted. He seems to have recovered completely from his side strain injury and Langer informed that he’d take the field. Stoinis adds great stability to the line-up but has got to perform better with the bat, in particular.
Bowlers (Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon)
There won’t be any changes to the bowling line-up for Australia. They will surely prefer to go ahead with the tried and tested combination. Jason Behrendorff and Mitchell Starc will open the bowling. Both these bowlers swing the ball a long way and have consistently picked up wickets. The Kangaroos should look to finish a majority of the overs of Behrendorff when the ball is still new.
Pat Cummins role in the team has slightly changed. He’s being used according to the situation of the game and has done well at all stages of the innings. Australia will continue with Nathan Lyon as the spinner. Not only is he economical but also is very smart and picks up some important wickets.
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