Zuul @zuulsumra 9 months ago Op
Preview by Bharat Sundaresan
At one point during Aaron Finch's lengthy stint in the nets at the Allan Border Field, he copped a thumping blow to his thigh. His loud bellow in pain though was met with laughter from some of his teammates, led by Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith, stood not too far from the net. Finch though powered on, after a few choice comments for them, and if anything began striking the ball as well as he has in a while.
Smith entered the same net not long after and was struck on his right index finger right away, in fact off the first ball he faced from Andre Borovec with a sidearm. As he stood there wringing his hand in agony and trying to see if his finger was in harm's way, Finch couldn't help but hit back with a quip about the net in question being one designed for pain.
Smith thankfully was fit enough to have a long hit, which he broke up into two halves, the first more focused on just hitting balls and the second in the centre-wicket nets, more about trying and smashing it to all parts.
It was a similar theme for all the batters at Australia's optional-turned-full-fledged training session on a rather sunny morning in Brisbane, a day out from the crucial clash against Ireland. Tough going in the challenging nets on the side of the field and a lot of free-swinging of the bat on the centre-wicket. David Warner in fact was at it for nearly 2 hours. Not surprisingly Smith wasn't far behind.
In a way, the fact that Australia assembled for this training session en masse and made it an all-in practice session also told you how and where they see themselves placed in the Super 12s of the T20 World Cup. Not to forget the fact that they haven't been on a cricket ground since beating Sri Lanka in Perth in what feels like ages ago. Even the fast bowlers braced up to the heat and humidity of the Queensland air to run in full tilt and bowl at least for half hour each. It was like Australia were trying to dust off whatever negative energy that still remained from the thrashing they received from New Zealand to kick off their campaign. Along with the rustiness of not having got on to the field since their thrashing of Sri Lanka, courtesy that Marcus Stoinis assault. And as they left the Allan Border Field, after over three hours of intense training, you knew that they were as geared up as they have been for a while when it comes to T20I cricket.
The Irish had to be content with training at the Northern Suburbs ground, or the Ian Healy Oval, and they too arrived at full strength, like they tend to do. Their session though was dominated in the early phases about a bunch of them indulging in a game of touch rugby. And that went on for a good 40 minutes before they even picked up a cricket bat or ball. The Irish amazingly find themselves tied on points but with a better net run-rate than the Aussies. It's unfortunate that they couldn't build on their win over England against Afghanistan at the MCG. But they looked pretty confident of having their future in this World Cup in their own hands. And their mood, and expectations from Monday's clash against Australia at the Gabba could be summed up by a support staff member who went something to the effect of ,"Those who are calling our victories in this tournament as upsets haven't watched how well we've played over the last 12 months. Let them keep doing it, and we'll keep surprising them".
When: Australia v Ireland, ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022, October 31, 18:00 Local, 13:30 IST
Where: The Gabba, Brisbane
What to expect: A spotless sky and some warm weather is what everyone currently in Brisbane for the World Cup is grateful for, especially after some chilly and grim outings in other parts of the country. And that's what we expect to get for the game too. There is always bounce off the pitches at the Gabba at this time of the year. And the fast bowlers will enjoy bowling on it. There will be runs on offer like always at the Gabba and it'll be interesting to see at what point Australia or even Ireland start eyeing the net run-rate scenarios for each team.
T20I Head to Head: Australia 1-0 overall, last match coming during the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka
Injured/Unavailable: Australia will have Matthew Wade and Adam Zampa ready after a Covid scare for both.
Tactics & Matchups:
Australia will look to come hard at the Irish with the new-ball. They were a little flat and had to rely on some Stoinis magic to see them home versus Sri Lanka. They would not want to leave it that late, and especially with a team like Ireland, who have the players and the skillsets to pose a credible threat to the Aussies. The batting for Australia meanwhile still needs some sorting but that has more to do with the specific role that gets defined for each of them.
Probable XI: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitch Marsh/Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
Tactics & Matchups:
Ireland's strength has been the early impetus provided by Josh Little and Mark Adair and that's what Australia will try to disrupt. With the bat they still seem a little too dependent on the top 3 with Campher and Dockrell in good form too.
Probable XI: Paul Stirling, Andy Balbirnie (C), Lorcan Tucker (wk), Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Gareth Delany, Mark Adair, Fionn Hand, Barry McCarthy, Josh Little
Ireland Squad: Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie(c), Lorcan Tucker(w), Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Gareth Delany, Mark Adair, Barry McCarthy, Fionn Hand, Joshua Little, Simi Singh, Conor Olphert, Graham Hume, Stephen Doheny
Australia Squad: David Warner, Aaron Finch(c), Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade(w), Pat Cummins, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Cameron Green, Steven Smith