In January 2019, Australia had been comfortably beaten 2-1 in an ODI series at home by India. They looked a little out of sorts and not in the best shape. Nobody back then thought that Australia would be one of the strong contenders for the ICC World Cup 2019 in England.
However, that team was without the likes of David Warner, Steve Smith, and Mitchell Starc. Ever since the return of these three in the Australian side in the World Cup 2019, they have looked solid. And now, after beating tournament favorites England at Lord’s by 64 runs on the 25th of June, Australia has become the first team to qualify for the semi-final berth in World Cup 2019. This was an overall performance by Australia as they thumped the No.1 ODI side in the world comfortably and collectively. It was an outstanding Australian performance and has set them on a roll.
Captain Aaron Finch, whose fantastic 100 set the tone for Australia in the first innings, was expectedly elated after his team’s victory. “Very happy. Can’t win the tournament if you don’t make the semis, so that is a first part ticked off which is a nice feeling. Have played some good cricket so far, touch wood, we will keep going in the same direction,” Finch said at the post-match presentation.
With six wins in 7 matches and 12 points in their kitty, Australia are sitting pretty at the top of the points table. They have a Net Run Rate of 0.906 and should end up being in the top two after the end of the league stage.
So are Australia now the new hot favorites for World Cup 2019?
It certainly appears so. They are getting better with every game and are looking very dangerous now.
Australia’s opening duo of David Warner and Aaron Finch have been in sensational form and are the top two run-getters of the current edition of the World Cup so far with 500 runs and 496 runs to their names respectively. Warner and Finch have put on solid partnerships in almost every game that has helped Australia put on solid totals and then put pressure on the opposition. The opening duo has had partnerships of 96, 15, 61, 146, 80, 121 and 123 so far in the tournament.
In Glen Maxwell and wicket-keeper Alex Carey Australia has two very dangerous finishers too who are doing the job well.
Australia’s bowling was always good, but it’s looking lethal now with a sensational Mitchell Starc leading the way with 19 wickets followed by Pat Cummins who has 11 wickets. Jason Behrendorff, who came in for the struggling Nathan Coulter-Nile in the game against England, picked up 5-44 with his swing and seam and has given Australia a terrific third seam bowling option now. These three will pose a threat to any team, and if Australia’s support bowlers can do the job well, then the team will become hard to beat.
It’s not that Australia doesn’t have chinks in their armor – their middle-order looks a tad fragile, and their spin bowling doesn’t look threatening. But despite these, they are doing exceedingly well and looking formidable with each passing game. If they can continue this form, then the defending champions might well defend their crown.