With three wins in its last three matches, Australia has finally arrived at the World Cup and skipper Pat Cummins believes his side has ‘nailed’ the brand of cricket it wanted to play.
“Our group’s big on talking about the style that we want to play, and I think in the first two games not only did we not win, but I think we didn’t really nail the style that we wanted to play. I think in the last few games you’ve seen us be a bit more aggressive - batting and bowling... That’s a standard we want to keep going with for the rest of the tournament, Cummins said ahead of the match against New Zealand at the HPCA Stadium here.
In the losses against India and South Africa, the Aussie bowlers allowed to let the game drift away in the middle overs by not picking wickets. However, its three-match winning streak since, which includes a record 309-run win over the Netherlands, has seen Australia bundle out opponents with ease.
“... We could try and be really safe through the middle, but we’re not going to take wickets where they’re probably going to score runs at the back end. So, we’re always all about wickets at the start and the middle, and happy to give up a few runs in search of that,” Cummins explained.
The captain also lauded his bowling partner Mitchell Starc, who has never gone wicketless in 23 World Cup matches since 2015, for his ability to bowl across phases and maintain his pace over the years.
“I think in 50-over cricket there’s the new ball, the middle phase and the last phase and it’s pretty hard to nail all three, but I think he’s one of the rare bowlers that swings it up front, but you can basically give him the ball at any time and you feel like he’s going to create something and again I think he just keeps getting better and better. He’s wobbling the ball across right-handers, he’s bowling round the wicket probably more than he did in, say 2015, he’s got plenty of tools at his disposal and it’s pretty amazing he’s been able to keep up the pace for that long as well,” Cummins said.
Cummins was involved in a very different partnership against the Netherlands – a 103-run alliance off 44 balls with Glenn Maxwell, who blitzed a record 40-ball century.
Calling him a superstar, Cummins, whose contribution in that stand was eight, said, “He said to me with three or four overs left, ‘I just want to face many balls here and own these last four overs.’ And he did it. So yeah, just insane.”
The outfield at the HPCA Stadium has come under the scanner since the first game held here between Bangladesh and Afghanistan and Cummins said that the players will have to be ‘extra careful’.
“Yeah, I just walked across there now, so that was the first look at it. So yeah, that’s probably a ground we’ve got to be extra careful. It’s a bit different to a lot of the other venues that we play at. But it’s fine. It’s the same for both teams. So yeah, maybe just be a little bit more careful out in the field,” he said.
However, set against the Dhauladhar range, Cummins rated the venue as one of the most picturesque he had played at and said it was ‘right up there’ with Cape Town.
“You think of Cape Town, this one’s probably just as beautiful. As you saw, as soon as we got off the bus, everyone goes right out the front, gets their phone out, and starts taking photos. You just got to do it when you’re here. So, it’s beautiful, clean air. Looking up at snow-capped mountains, it’s great.”
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