Mass changes unlikely after T20 World Cup loss, says Aussie skipper
Captain Aaron Finch says Australia’s record-breaking loss to New Zealand in their first game of the T20 World Cup won’t prompt mass changes to the side.
New Zealand’s 89-run win at the SCG on Saturday night was the Black Caps’ biggest T20I victory over their Trans-Tasman neighbours and Australia’s heaviest loss at the T20 World Cup.
Opening batters Finn Allen and Devon Conway had the Kiwis off to the perfect start, punishing the world-class Aussie quicks with boundary after boundary.
At the crease for Australia, Glenn Maxwell top-scored with only 28 as the hosts failed to rise to the challenge they had been set.
Australia’s hopes of defending their World Cup title hinge on defeating Sri Lanka in Perth this Tuesday, and likely winning the three games in the group stage after that.
Cameron Green, Ashton Agar, Kane Richardson and former Test captain Steve Smith are on stand-by as the hosts plot their recovery.
But Finch predicted Australia would take a similar XI into Perth to the one that lost on the opening night of the tournament.
“We still feel as though we have the right structure of team and we’ve got the right players to win the World Cup,” Finch told reporters.
“Whether you go in with an extra spinner or an extra quick, that’s the only real decision to be made.”
Australia’s top order struggled under the pressure of New Zealand’s 200-run total: between them, David Warner, Finch, Mitch Marsh and Marcus Stoinis (41) scored fewer runs than Allen (42).
Smith could provide a calming presence if subbed in but appears unlikely to feature in Perth as Finch defended the performance of his batting order.
“You can’t go into your shell in T20 cricket. You have to be able to transfer pressure back onto the opposition as quick as you can,” he said.
“At times, that comes with risk. You have to be prepared to wear the consequences of taking risks.
“We haven’t gotten it totally right with bat or ball, we’ve got to look at ourselves in that regard, but I’m still committed to playing the same way that won us the last World Cup.”
Australia scraped into the final four at the last T20 World Cup thanks to their superior net run rate but coach Andrew McDonald said it was too early to start configuring the batting order with that in mind.
“We’re one game into the tournament,” he said.
“There are going to be other results that potentially shift everyone’s thinking. The only thing that’s clear for us is the next game in Perth against Sri Lanka.”