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Australia will be ‘right in the mix at the business end’, asserts Lee ahead of start of T20 World Cup Super-12 stage

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Perth, Oct 22 Former Australian pace bowler Brett Lee is confident he will see Aaron Finch’s side “right in the mix at the business end” of the ICC T20 World Cup at home, adding not much to be read into the team’s loss to India and England in the recent T20 series and the warm-up defeat to Rohit Sharma’s side a few of days back.

Lee said almost a year back, Australia were the underdogs, bereft of “form” and “struggling”, but they won their maiden T20 World Cup title in the UAE in 2021, adding that with every player a match-winner, they could once again do it in front of the home crowd.

“Turn the clock back 12 months and Australia looked like they were heading into a World Cup bereft of form and struggling to find answers. Flying under the radar throughout, Aaron Finch and his men won the whole thing but you can be sure they won’t be able to claim underdog status this time around. There are a number of teams who can justifiably argue that they are the most likely side to lift the trophy, and Australia are certainly one of them,” said Lee in his column for the International Cricket Council (ICC) ahead of their Super 12 Group 1 match against New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground later on Saturday.

“The (2-0) series defeat to England will have hurt, they always do, but from a batting perspective, there is not too much to worry about. Glenn Maxwell could do with some runs, but he showed in the UAE (2021 T20 World Cup) that he is the man for the big occasion when he saved his best performance for the final.

Lee added that with newcomer Tim David giving massive stability to the middle order, there is no reason to believe Australia will not win the trophy.

“The fact that Tim David is the new face in the team is an indication of the stability of the defending champions, and a big reason why I think they could do it again and go back-to-back (titles). If they are going to do that, the bowlers will probably need to pick it up after the big guns struggled in Canberra (in the warm-up game against India), but write off Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood at your peril. Those guys have done it time and again on the big stage, and will thrive in the Aussie conditions,” opined Lee.

“I’ve been really impressed by Marcus Stoinis over the last 12 months. He impressed when called upon in the last World Cup, but only bowled in one game and batted in four of the seven. This time around, there is a chance that we might see more of him with both bat and ball and his form has been great.”

The former quick added that on the day opening batter David Warner gets going, the middle-order and all the other allrounders could just relax and watch the stalwart’s pyrotechnics.

“If David Warner can produce the sort of fireworks we saw at the top of the order in the UAE (2021 T20 World Cup), then maybe those all-rounders will not be needed that much after all. You never need any motivation going into a World Cup and the fact it (Australia vs New Zealand) is a rematch of the last final will only serve to sharpen the minds.

“The Kiwis will be desperate for revenge and when you consider that England are also in that group for the Super 12, a slow start would be a disaster. The last thing you want is to find yourself playing catch-up after the opening game. We saw that happen to India last time, and I had my own experience of it back in 2009. Then it was Chris Gayle and the West Indies who put us behind the eight ball, an outing at the Oval I’d rather forget! So the key will be to hit the ground running in that opener and then to play with a bit more freedom thereafter.

“Between their experience and the talent with both bat and ball, there is no reason why Australia should not be right in the mix at the business end of the tournament,” added Lee.

–NAIJAONPOINT

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