Two Reasons Why Australia Never Stood A Chance At This World Cup
Let's be realistic here. The Aussies were always a little off the pace.
That might seem an unusual statement, given Australia came into the Cricket World Cup 2019 semi-final against England -- which we lost overnight -- on a hot run of form.
Remember that we won seven of nine games in the preliminary phase of this tournament. And in the lead-up to CWC 2019, we beat India in a five-match series in India -- no mean feat -- and also swept aside Pakistan 5-0.
But those results masked four poor years of One Day form by Australian standards. They also masked two major flaws in our team which we never resolved throughout the duration of this tournament.
Those flaws? The lack of a finishing bowler, and the lack of a middle order power hitter. We'll get to those in a sec. But first, here's a little perspective.
- Over the years, Australia has won about 60 percent off all the One Dayers it has played. The last four years? Just over 50 percent.
- You only have to look at the official ICC One day International team rankings, which show Australia sitting fourth in the world, just ahead of Pakistan and South Africa, by a whisper.
- Yeah, that's about right. We've been off the pace for a while now.
Why? Where has Australia gone wrong?
As mentioned, we don't have a power player we can rely on. The guy who comes in at 4/220 in the 38th over and turns a promising innings into a monster score.
Marcus Stoinis was tried in the role but didn't cut it in this tournament. Glenn Maxwell looked good in small patches, especially his 46 not out off 25 balls against Sri Lanka. But the fact is, he reached 20 five times at this World Cup, yet never made it to 50. It just wasn't enough.
Matthew Wade might just have been the explosive middle-order hitter Australia needed, but he was omitted from the original 15-man World Cup squad by selectors, then farcically brought in to cover for the injured Usman Khawaja, but not selected in the XI for the crucial semi.
The other area that let Australia down was our death bowling. Who was our finisher? The guy who plugged the flow of runs?
Taking wickets wasn't an issue. Mitchell Starc sits way out on top of the list at this World Cup with 27 scalps -- a tally which exceeds the all-time World Cup record of Glenn McGrath. Pat Cummins is also in the top 10 with his 14 wickets.
But later in the innings, after the strike bowlers had struck, it was unclear who was there to stifle the opposition. You know the role someone like Andrew Tye plays in the Big Bash? Well, we needed that here. Remember, Bangladesh scored 338 against us at this World Cup. We made a mountain of runs in that game, so we beat them comfortably, but still.
Anyway, that's that. We're out. Our bowling was not defensive enough and our batting not attacking enough. Yes, Smith and Warner and Finch made an absolute stack of runs early in the innings, but when they went, the momentum dipped. Overall, our team had holes.
Meanwhile, England face New Zealand in what -- it must be said -- will be a fitting World Cup final.
England have been slowly building towards this. While they had a mid-tournament hiccup or two, they've been the best team in the world for the last four years after a complete rebuild. Dare we say it, Australia would do well to follow their example.
The Kiwis? They're flashy and unpredictable. One thing is certain: every Aussie is suddenly cheering for them. Then again, maybe it might be best to get an early night, count a few sheep, and sleep through the World Cup final.