Gamble that could blow up in Australia’s face; Maxi factor we are all forgetting: Talking Points

Home » Gamble that could blow up in Australia’s face; Maxi factor we are all forgetting: Talking Points
Gamble that could blow up in Australia’s face; Maxi factor we are all forgetting: Talking Points

Aaron Finch will be hoping Australia’s World Cup defence does not end in the same miserable fashion their final pre-tournament series against England did.

Three rain delays later and Australia’s run-chase was ultimately abandoned, with the home side in all sorts of trouble at 3-30 in pursuit of 130 for victory.

The result left more questions than answers for Australia, with more questions coming out of Canberra than answers.

Here are our talking points coming out of the series.

The collapse that shows why Australia must reconsider Steve Smith approach

For two weeks Michael Clarke has been imploring Australia’s selectors not to look past Steve Smith.

Yet, that is exactly what looks like occurring, with Australia’s selectors poised to go for an all powerful middle-order which features Tim David.

Australia’s selection panel are seemingly opting for the ‘go hard or go home’ principle.

But what if it doesn’t come off?

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Australia start two for ZIP! | 00:43

Australia’s World Cup dreams would likely have gone up in smoke at the first stage should Smith not played a crucial innings against the Proteas.

Chasing 119 for victory, Australia slumped to 3-38 before Smith steadied the ship.

He didn’t see Australia home, but his 35 off 34 (the top score of the innings) helped pave the way for Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade to finish the job.

It wasn’t an innings that will be remembered in the highlights and memory bank, but it was an innings that showed his importance to the side.

On Friday, in the nation’s capital, Australia lost two wickets from the opening two balls to be 2-0.

Smith finished the innings seven not out, before rain denied the prolific run-scorer the opportunity to mount his selection case.

It occurred after Clarke had earlier implored Australia’s selectors to pick Smith, believing that if Australia was 2-20 the NSW batter is the one person you would want to solve a crisis.

Smith isn’t considered a man who can belt boundaries like others in Australia’s team, but it is easy to forget that the right-hander scored one of the fastest ODI centuries in history against India in late 2020.

He scored back to back centuries in two ODIs in November, 2020, both remarkably coming off just 62 deliveries.

Finch should have batted first

In all three T20s Australia won the toss and Finch elected to bat against England.

Finch said he wanted Australia to work on their run-chases.

But by doing so in Canberra, he robbed Australia, specifically Glenn Maxwell and Smith, of getting some valuable time in the middle.

Oz avoid England whitewash due to rain | 02:49

The rain that hit Canberra did not come from nowhere, it had been touted for days and the radar forecast rain for Friday night too.

Instead of having 12 overs out in the middle, Australia got less than four overs.

With Australia’s bowling attack pretty much set in stone, it was a missed opportunity for their batters to find some touch.

Why Maxwell is a lock

Glenn Maxwell is out of form.

Every man and their dog can see that.

Maxwell has struggled to time the ball and he isn’t playing like a man who is confident.

But his work in the field and with the ball means he is one of the first picked for Australia.

Maxwell’s spin is the most under-appreciated aspect of Australia’s side.

In the UAE last year, his tweakers got wickets and held up an end.

With Australia likely to play just the one spinner, Maxwell provides Australia with balance.

Hit & (forget to) run?! – England howler | 00:48

All-rounder settles debate

Marcus Stoinis has made quite the statement over the past three T20s.

There was a question mark hanging over the 33-year-old ahead of the series but despite Australia losing all three matches Stoinis sealed his place in the side.

The feature of his batting was the intent he played with.

At times Stoinis can be guilty of not rotating the strike and looking purely for the boundary ball, but the right-hander hit the ball crisply and looked confident and precise with his footwork and shot selection.

Australia’s Marcus Stoinis (R) celebrates his wicket of England’s Harry Brook (L) at Manuka Oval in Canberra on October 12, 2022. Photo: AFPSource: AFP

Just as importantly was his returns with the ball, taking 3-34 in the second match.

Should Stoinis and fellow all-rounder Mitch Marsh get overs under the belts throughout the tournament, it could allow Australia’s selectors to play an extra batter.

After all, between Stoinis, Marsh and Maxwell, the trio could potentially bowl eight overs between them if Australia wanted to leave out one of their four specialist bowlers.

Australia all in on Aaron Finch

Australia have gone all in on their captain.

Despite Finch’s form still very much a concern, making a change at this stage would have a massive disruptive impact on the side.

Finch is considered the tactical mastermind of the side and his calming influence is highly valued by all.

But by moving to the top of the order, his major flaw will be exposed.

Gilchrist looks into Aaron Finch | 06:06

For two years Finch has struggled against the moving ball and the technically masterclass delivered by Adam Gilchrist, Mark Waugh and even Nathan Lyon on Friday night highlighted Finch’s flaws.

It’s a concern.

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