T20 World Cup 2021: Australia set to continue with Finch-Warner opening pair

Australia’s white-ball captain Aaron Finch has indicated that he will open the batting with an off-colour David Warner at the men’s T20 World Cup 2021, which kicks off in UAE and Oman from October 17.

Injuries and form have been a worry for Australia in the build-up to the T20 World Cup. Warner has 195 runs at 24 and a strike rate of 108 this IPL season and was dropped by the struggling Sunrisers Hyderabad in the UAE-leg of IPL. Meanwhile, Finch played with an injury in the West Indies and missed the entire Bangladesh series.

READ: Tymal Mills feels IPL will help England’s T20 World Cup charge

The Victorian batter has since undergone knee surgery and is feeling “very good”. He is likely to stick to the left-right opening combination. “I think you would expect to see Davey [David Warner] and I open the batting in the World Cup. It is something that has worked for us for a long time now,” he told Sportstar.

Among other Australians in the IPL, Glenn Maxwell has reeled off three half-centuries in a row for third-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore while Steve Smith has struggled for game time with Delhi Capitals. Smith’s record in T20Is is mixed – he has 794 runs in 45 matches at an average of 27.37 and a strike rate of 129.52. But Finch has reiterated his confidence in Smith while adding that there will probably be a few floaters in the batting order.

“Smith is the best batsman in the world. I have no doubt he is the best possible option to fulfil the anchor role,” he said.

“Guys like Stoinis and [Matthew] Wade are high-quality cricketers that can fill any role in the Australian order. All our players are adaptable enough to bat in the middle order, and I think you will see whoever is called upon in the World T20 do a terrific job.”

Australian men’s side hasn’t reached a T20 World Cup semifinal since 2012. It was No.1 in the ICC T20I rankings in May 2020 for the first time in history. Since then, it has lost five consecutive T20I series. Against Bangladesh in August this year, Australia’s batting hit rock bottom when it was bowled out for 62 in the fifth T20I, its lowest ever in the format.

“I don’t think people should read too much into the playing against spin in West Indies and Bangladesh,” Finch said. “I think we have picked a team that can win the T20 World Cup. We have the utmost faith in every single player picked. No doubt, they will be able to help us win.”

About the side’s bowling composition, Finch said: “The bowlers we have picked are world-class, so I am looking forward to seeing what they do on the big stage.”

The players departing for the T20 World Cup from Australia will leave for UAE later this week.

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