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  • Writer's pictureJosh Kempton

Top order batting key for Aussie World Cup Success

Former Australian captain Kim Hughes believes the current team can use their underdog status to their advantage in the World Cup.

Pat Cummins’ side head into the tournament relatively unfancied, with many experts picking host nation India and defending champions England as the favourites.

Hughes, who played in the 1979 and 1983 World Cups, told Sports Breakfast Australia’s top-order batting provided a potential point of difference to other sides.

“Mitchell Marsh, I was over there in England when he got his hundred at Headingley, I didn’t think he could play that well. He was absolutely fantastic … Warner has been very, very successful, I don’t think he’s had a score under 50 lately so he’s in good form, and this type of cricket, 50-over cricket, is ideal for Smith and Labuschagne,” Hughes said.

“When you have a look at the Australian squad, this would be the last ODI World Cup that our three quicks, Hazlewood, Cummins and Starc will play in, the same for Warner, the same for Smith, so there’s a lot of blokes there that are coming towards the end of their careers and would want to go out on a good note.

“They’d be really keen to get off to a good start against India and you wouldn’t get a tougher opponent.

“I think Australia are in a good position. We’ve got nothing to lose at all because all the pundits will be picking India to win.”

The tournament kicked off last night with New Zealand annihilating England by nine wickets in a rematch of the 2019 final, courtesy of 153 not out from opener Devon Conway and young allrounder Rachin Ravindra notching his first international hundred with 123 not out.

Hughes said the Black Caps should never be underestimated.

“Incredible, New Zealand. They really just fight above their weight in whatever field of endeavour they get involved in,” he said.

“I didn’t even realise Kane Williamson wasn’t playing, although England didn’t have Ben Stokes, so he’ll be a big plus coming back to them.

“It was a real surprise, it’s really set it up.”

New Zealand won their game after winning the toss and choosing to bowl, a common strategy in the subcontinent due to dew descending onto the ground in the evening, with Hughes saying the prevalence of white-ball cricket meant modern players were excellent at chasing target scores.

“A lot of the sides now, they’ve played a lot of this type of cricket,” he said.

“It’s about the only sport in the world where the equipment’s got better, you could almost bat with the edge of the bat these days, and the boundaries have got smaller. It’d be like golf, all the new equipment coming in but the fairways getting shorter.

“You’ve only got to half-hit it and it goes out of the ground, so scores around what England got, 270, 280, that’s not even going to get a look in.

“The longer the series goes, there’s going to be more emphasis on those bowlers who take the pace off the ball and can get the ball to go away from the bat, left-arm orthodox or whatever it may be, and I think that’s where India are going to be very, very strong indeed.”

Australia start their campaign against India on Sunday in Chennai, with the game getting underway at 4:30pm WA time.

IMAGE: The Courier Mail


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