World Cup 2019, Australia vs West Indies: Five Aussie players to watch out for

Australia started its World Cup campaign on a winning note against Afghanistan and it would be hoping to keep the momentum going against the West Indies.

Aaron Finch played a knock of 66 in the opener against Afghanistan.   -  Getty Images

For any team, the tag of a defending champion comes with a price. There is pressure to perform and of course, when Australia takes on West Indies in a World Cup fixture on Thursday, it will be hoping to gain upper hand. It started its campaign on a winning note and the focus would be to keep the momentum going.

Even though the last couple of years haven’t looked quite glittery for the Aussies, the five-time champion side cannot be taken lightly. With Steven Smith and David Warner back in the scheme of things, the team covers all the bases and definitely stands as one of the title contenders.

David Warner: Returning to international cricket arena after a year-long suspension, Warner’s selection for the World Cup looked like a dicey affair, but the 32-year-old made things looks easy as he amassed 692 runs in the Indian Premier League this year -- featuring for Sunrisers Hyderabad. And his form will be a key factor forAustralia in this edition of the World Cup. Though he failed to impress in the three build-up matches for Australia XI, scoring only 41 runs in three innings, the Australian team management is confident of the season batsman faring well in the English conditions. The fact that he played an unbeaten knock of 89 against Afghanistan in the opener, will boost his confidence.

David Warner on his way to 89 not out against Afghanistan   -  Getty Images

 


Steven Smith: Until a few weeks ago, it was not clear whether Steven Smith, who underwent a surgery in January, will be able to return to action anytime soon. But the 30-year-old did make a strong comeback with the Indian Premier League. And with him around, Australia’s batting department certainly looks well-balanced. Despite being out of the national team for little more than a year, Smith’s experience will come good for Australia. The ability to steady the middle-order has been Smith’s forte and in the long tournament, Smith’s tactical acumen will come into play.

READ: AUS vs WI head-to-head records

The only concern, however, would be the fact that he has not played international cricket since March last year. There could be initial struggles, but Smith would be hoping to make every opportunity count. In the build-up games, however, he played unbeaten knocks of 89 and 91, making it evident that he is ready for another World Cup. In the opener, however, he could score only 18 runs.

In Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, Australia boasts of a fiery pace battery.   -  getty images

 



Glenn Maxwell: 
Form is temporary, class is permanent — that’s perhaps the right way to describe Maxwell. The Aussie all-rounder has the calibre of changing the colour of a game and his experience will come in handy for the defending champion. It’s a fact that consistency has been the biggest concern for Maxwell, but his presence certainly bolsters the morale of a side. He can come in handy in crunch situations and that’s the reason why he could be the trump card in England. In the opening game against Afghanistan, he was unbeaten on four.

Pat Cummins: In the English conditions, Pat Cummins could emerge as a match-winner for the Aussies. The vastly-experienced seamer knows the conditions well and leading the pace attack, he would be hoping to provide the team with early breakthroughs. Coming back from a rough patch, Cummins bounced back in the recently-concluded series against India. Spearheading the pace attack, it would be crucial for Cummins to stay fit and maintain his workload well. If that can be taken care of, Cummins will certainly pose a threat to the batsmen. He scalped three wickets against Afghanistan in the opener.

Aaron Finch: Much before travelling to England for the tournament, Aaron Finch has made it clear that he is ready to bat down the order to aid Australia’s title defence. In the recent ODI series against India, Finch and Usman Khawaja has had partnerships of 83, 193 and 76. But then, there has been a bit of slip-up in his personal batting form and to address that, Finch is willing to ‘demote’ himself. And Finch’s form will be extremely crucial for Australia. Being someone who handles pressure situations really well, the team will expect Finch to play the role of a sheet anchor. With Smith also back in the side, Finch and Maxwell need to step up to help the team cruise. In the opener, he played a knock of 66.