Australia returned to winning ways in Perth a couple of days ago, defeating Sri Lanka by seven wickets in a Super-12 fixture of the T20 World Cup.
While the defending champion kept its hopes alive in the tournament, captain Aaron Finch’s unbeaten 31 off 42 raised more questions than it answered. Finch struggled to break free and was far from comfortable during his time at the crease.
The opening batter, however, calls it an ‘anomaly in his career’. Back in Melbourne for the must-win game against England, Finch appears to be a lot more relaxed and comfortable.
Over the last few days, he has tried figuring out what went wrong that evening, and it seems he has been able to solve the puzzle.
“It was just one of those days. I hit a real nice pull straight to the fielder, and then an off drive in the same over. I felt I was playing quite well. And once Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) started to get away, I probably went into my shell a little bit and looked to just get off rather than hitting good strong shots out to a field,” Finch said on Thursday.
“I was trying to get off a strike in the ring, which is never easy when you’re facing a world-class spinner like (Maheesh) Theekshana. And that’s probably what I will change next time,” the captain asserted.
While analysing that innings, Finch realised that he was ‘probably one or two boundaries away from being back to a-run-a-ball’. “We identified early in the game or in our PowerPlay when the ball was zipping around a bit that we didn’t want to try to over-attack and expose the middle order too early because then you risk going two or three down in the PowerPlay,” he said.
“And then it’s a struggle to get the game back into a position where you can get home a little bit more comfortable. So it’s just that middle part… But I still feel like I’m playing pretty well.”
Heavy rains are expected when Australia squares off against England in Melbourne on Friday. But even then, Finch expects it to be a full house. “It doesn’t get bigger than MCG with a full house and with a lot on the line. It will be a great occasion and hopefully the weather clears up and we can have a great game,” Finch said.
England’s shock defeat against Ireland has left the Group 1 wide open, with all six teams separated by just two points with three matches each to play. Only the top two teams in the group will qualify for the semifinals.
“Any team can win on their day. That’s the thing about T20. You can’t take anything for granted in the game,” the Australian captain said.
“Afghanistan are a really skilful, talented side. Ireland has got the skills there. Sri Lanka on their day can beat anyone as well. It’s a tough group to get through no doubt.”
Just before the T20 World Cup, England had outplayed Australia in the T20 series, but Finch does not think that it will have any impact on the upcoming fixture.
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