Aussies To Bounce Back Hard

Mitcvhell Johnson at 2015 World Cup. Image Courtesy of: zeenews.india.com
Mitchell Johnson needs to really fire up at the World Cup. Image courtesy of: zeenews.india.com

Australia Cricket Logo


Australia v Afghanistan


WACA, Perth

Wednesday March 04 – 4:30 PM (AEST)

Form:


WDL

WLL


Afghanistan Cricket Logo


Following Saturday's heartbreaking loss to the in-form Kiwis, Australia  have the perfect opportunity to bounce back quickly at the World Cup taking on minnows Afghanistan  at the WACA on Wednesday.

Even though the Aussies went down by one wicket in a gripping contest in Auckland, there were some positives to come out of the Pool A encounter. Yes the Australians were bowled out cheaply, but they showed they can defend a modest total, even against a form side like New Zealand.

There is little doubt the Aussie batting was ordinary, particularly after a bright start. From 1/80, they lost 8/26 in nine crazy overs to be 9/106, before a 45 run final wicket partnership between Brad Haddin and Pat Cummins gave them something to defend. The top order all got starts, but no one went on with it, leaving Dave Warner as the top scorer with just 34. Skipper Michael Clarke will be better for the run and surely the middle and lower order batters can't put in another inept performance with the willow like that. Between them, Steve Smith , Glenn Maxwell , Mitch Marsh , Mitch Johnson and Mitchell Starc made just six runs!

If the batsmen cut out ridiculous shots, the bowlers have shown they can knock over sides comfortably. After Brendan McCullum's powerful start, our bowlers pegged back the homeside. Barring a defiant knock by Kane Williamson (45 n.o. off 42 balls), the green and golds might've routed the locals inside 24 overs for less than 151. With a career best of 6/28 off nine overs, Starc almost snatched victory. But he desperately needs Johnson to start firing up. So far in this Cup campaign, the normally lethal spearhead has bowled 14 overs for 104 runs and just two wickets. With Cummins out of Wednesday's match because of injury, Josh Hazlewood is likely to get a start.  

Afghanistan should be totally outclassed here, despite their last start one wicket victory over Scotland with three balls to spare. This is a huge jump in class, and previously, the associate nation was beaten by four wickets by Sri Lanka and 105 runs by Bangladesh.

For Australia to gain maximum benefit from this encounter, Clarke needs to win the toss and bat first, giving valuable time in the middle for himself and his key players. Then the tournament favourites must execute in the field, with some ruthless bowling (especially from Johnson) and thoroughly professional fielding. Only a complete drubbing against opposition like Afghanistan (with all due respect) would be acceptable for coach Darren Lehmann and his players.

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Chris Bombolas - Tatts Senior Writer

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