Fuzzy Australia need to focus with World Cup rapidly approaching – Sydney Morning Herald

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The good news is that David Warner rose at 6am on Thursday to play golf, just hours after a worrying tumble in the field which required a concussion test.
The uncomfortable news is that he’s still stiff and sore and remains in doubt to play the final T20 match against England in Canberra on Friday. Australia have already lost the three-match series.
It’s not as if Warner needs the hit. Leading into his failure against England in Canberra on Wednesday, the dashing left-hander had made rapid scores of 73 against England in Perth and 75 against the West Indies in Brisbane.
That sort of form made Warner player of the last T20 World Cup in Dubai 11 months ago, when Australia claimed their inaugural 20-over crown.
With that in mind, Australia will need to rely on history and Tim David to defend their title if the series loss to England is any guide.
But with Australia playing the opening match of the T20 World Cup against New Zealand at the SCG in little more than a week, the first thing the home side needs to do is switch on.
David Warner lands heavily after attempting a catch against England in Canberra on Wednesday Credit:Getty Images
It’s as if a combination of rushing, resting and rotating players through an impossibly tight schedule of T20 matches in India, then at home against the West Indies and England, has left their heads spinning and focus blurred.
It wasn’t bad batting or bowling which cost Australia Wednesday’s match, but dreadful fielding, with four catches going down after Australia’s reassembled front-line attack sliced the top off the tourists.
Despite a second eight-run loss to England in three days on opposite sides of the country, some reflection on Australia’s unexpected World Cup triumph suggests the players who did the business then are doing the business now, as Warner has highlighted.
And Australia’s batting line-up has been strengthened from the side that easily accounted for New Zealand in that final last November, with the heavy-hitting David replacing Steve Smith in the only change.
Marcus Stoinis has been in good touch with the bat and claimed three wickets against England.Credit:Getting Images
However, there are still two of the same holes in the batting line-up: captain Aaron Finch and the man who should own T20 cricket, Glenn Maxwell, two of the game’s best-credentialed white-ball players.
In the last T20 World Cup, Finch averaged 19 with a strike rate of 116 across seven games opening the batting. Maxwell averaged 16 with a strike rate of 100, and that included 28 not out from 18 balls in the final as Australia cruised an eight-wicket victory.
It is to be hoped that this time around Maxwell is saving himself for the tournament that counts. In six T20 international innings during the past four weeks, the multi-talented all-rounder has scores of 1, 0, 6, 0, 1, 8.
There’s a fine line between playing with freedom and flair and holing out to low percentage shots. Maxwell has crossed that line too often.
Tim David’s power hitting has become an import part of Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign.Credit:Getty
Finch’s T20 numbers this year are solid: nine scores of 22 or better in 16 innings with three half-centuries.
But a more accurate guide comes over the past month following his retirement from one-day cricket in September after a string of low scores during 50-over series in Townsville and Cairns.
He has made 158 runs at 23, but his one innings of substance — 58 — came at a run a ball in a low-scoring run chase against the West Indies batting at No.4.
Finch has been such a success as a white-ball player because of his ability to demolish attacks opening the batting while the field is up during the power play.
But if Warner, Mitch Marsh — who was player of the match in the last T20 World Cup final — and Marcus Stoinis continue to hit the ball so sublimely, David chimes in with fearless late order power, and Wade continues to finish as he has for the past year, history may yet repeat.
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