T20 World Cup 2021: Australia Predicted Playing XI against Sri Lanka
Mitchell Starc remains unsure for Thursday's encounter.
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Australia and Sri Lanka are teams that don’t meet each other often in the format. Having first met in 2007, Thursday’s encounter will be the 17th time they play against each other, with their head-to-head record standing poise at 8-8.
Stuck with each other in what is termed as the group of death, both the teams enter the contest with winning momentum: Australia impressed aplenty with their bowling display against South Africa before crawling to a victory as they chased 119 in the last over; Sri Lanka, on the other hand, chased 172 against Bangladesh with more than an over left in the bank.
Australia Predicted XI against Sri Lanka:
Openers – David Warner, Aaron Finch
Plenty of eyes were on David Warner after a lackluster show in the 2021 IPL. That rut has extended into the T20 World Cup. The southpaw was dismissed for a duck against New Zealand in the warm-up fixture, followed by 1 against India.
In Australia’s opening fixture, he did make a positive start, gathering three boundaries in quick succession but was sent back by Kagiso Rabada for 14 off 15. His partner endured a worse outing, perishing for a five-ball duck against the Proteas after scores of 24 and 8 in the warm-ups.
Middle-order – Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade
After impressive series against West Indies and Bangladesh earlier, Mitchell Marsh was persisted with at the No. 3 spot. However, against South Africa, the move did not materialize as he struggled to find any momentum and struck well below 100, scoring 11 off 17.
It was down to Steve Smith’s calculated batting style that ensured Australia did not lose the plot. His 34-ball 35 was not a shimmery T20 knock but the exact anchor his team needed. Glenn Maxwell, meanwhile, failed to fire the way he did all IPL this year but in the context of Australia’s chase, his 18 runs were crucial. Not to mention he cleaned up Temba Bavuma inside the powerplay earlier.
Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade was the duo that absorbed the pressure at a stage when the Proteas had started to stifle Australia. Stoinis’ 16-ball 24 and Wade’s 10-ball 15 is the primary reason why the team is going against Sri Lanka with two points in their kitty, given Australia were 81/5 at one stage during their chase in the last game.
Bowlers – Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
Even though each one of the bowlers who rolled their arm in the previous game managed to get at least one wicket, Josh Hazlewood was the easily most impressive. Coming on the back of a brilliant second leg of IPL, Hazlewood continued his good form as he struck twice inside the powerplay and bowled a maiden in his spell that cost only 19.
The duty to take wickets at the death were with Mitchell Starc, who was a touch expensive – he gave 32 runs – but scalped two wickets nonetheless. Starc, however, remains an unsure starter for Thursday’s encounter after he was seen limping off the field during Australia’s practice session on the eve of the game. If unfit, Kane Richardson, who picked 3/24 against New Zealand in the warm-ups, should replace him.
Pat Cummins, the most economical of all three pacers in the previous game (1/17), will be the other pacer alongside spinner Adam Zampa, who returned with figures of 2/21.