There are lots of strong teams in this year’s tournament, but for me there are none stronger than Australia. For the past six months, the Aussies have pretty much set the cricketing world alight with their attacking style of play and big hitting. Coach Darren Lehmann or ‘Boof’ as he is known in the camp has re-installed a sense of belief among the team after eight years of dominance from England in The Ashes. A set line-up, a smart-thinking captain and a solid wicket-keeper all mean that the Aussies are the bookies favourites with a price of 10/3.
With a batting line up of David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey and Brad Hodge, Australia are definitely not short of runs. In the warm-up match against New Zealand on Wednesday, openers Warner and Finch smashed an incredible 113 from just 8 overs including 16 fours and 6 sixes. Watson and Maxwell are also renowned for their six-hitting capacity, Captain George Bailey is in the form of his life and the 39-year-old veteran Brad Hodge has the most T20 runs in the history of the game.
Australia’s bowling attack suffered a setback before the tournament when star bowler Mitchell Johnson was forced to pull out of the squad with a toe infection. The 32-year-old was replaced by fellow left arm seamer Doug Bollinger. Australia have a strong left handed contingent in the bowling department, Mitchell Starc bowls with great pace and movement and is one of the best death bowlers around, Bradley Hogg may be 43 but his leg spin is still proving to be problematic for all who face it.
England’s chances are very slim, in my opinion. Without the intimidating presence of Kevin Pietersen, England’s batting line up just doesn’t look very threatening. Only Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler look to try and take the attack to the opposition bowlers. Morgan’s reverse sweep and Buttler’s scoop shot create new problems for the bowlers as well as their powerful hitting down the ground.
England’s death bowling is not good enough either. Bresnan, Jordan and Broad look to be the bowlers we will use at the end of the innings, and judging by their performances on the recent tour to the West Indies, they desperately need to get into the nets and practice the yorkers. If they don’t, then the final few overs could be very expensive for this English team, with the huge modern bats that resemble tree trunks making them pay.
This year’s ICC World Twenty20 Cup has been in its preliminary stages for the first 12 matches, but now the big teams are coming into the fold.
The Super 10 stages will include; Australia, England, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. These teams will be split into two groups of five, with the top two in each group progressing through to the semi-finals and then the final will be played on Sunday March 6th. Hopefully England will be there, though I wouldn’t count on it.