ICC World Cup 2019: Australia Predicted XI against Afghanistan - Finch set to make a tough call
Defending champions Australia will look to get their ICC World Cup 2019 campaign off to the perfect start when they take on Afghanistan in their opening game in Bristol on Saturday. While Afghanistan are no match on paper, they will take confidence from their win against Pakistan in the warm-up encounter.
It will be a problem of plenty for Australia as David Warner has managed to pass the fitness test and he will be opening the batting with Aaron Finch. Usman Khawaja will take the number three position while the return of Steve Smith and the presence of Glenn Maxwell will bolster the middle-order.
Australia’s bowling already wears a quality look with Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa set to play. It will be interesting to see if Australia go in for an additional spinner in Nathan Lyon or go for another pacer in Nathan Coulter-Nile.
David Warner has been enjoying a brilliant run of form this year and with 692 runs, he was the top run-scorer in the Indian Premier League. However, this will be the first ODI for the opener since the ball-tampering ban and if he can recover from his upper leg injury in time, Australia will surely be hoping for a big innings from their star batsman.
The skipper has not performed well in the last couple of warm-up matches but it will be unwise to overlook the threat presented by the destructive opener. He will form a brilliant partnership with David Warner and the duo is more than capable of providing Australia with an impressive start to the innings.
The left-hander is a mainstay in the Test team as an opener but when it comes to the ODI team, he will have to bat at No. 3. The left-hander scored a gritty 89 against Sri Lanka in their last warm-up encounter and his temperament provides the Australian team with the perfect balance.
This will also be the return of Steve Smith to ODI cricket after he was handed the ban following the infamous ball tampering scandal. The former Aussie skipper will be taking the No. 4 position and he will surely be looking to excel on his comeback.
Maxwell is well known for his destructive batting but it will be his role as a part-time spinner that will be crucial for Australia. There will be a number of pitches which will help spinners and in that case, he will have to contribute with the ball as well.
The all-rounder is the talk of the town right now and thanks to his brilliant show in the recent past, he was named Australia’s men’s One-Day International Player of the Year at the 2019 Australian Cricket Awards. Stoinis is a destructive batting option towards the end of the innings and his brand of medium pace bowling will be crucial for Australia to strangle their opposition’s run flow.
Carey will be taking care of the wicket-keeping responsibilities and towards the end of the innings, he can play the role of a finisher. In the last year, he has been quite inconsistent with his batting and the World Cup will be a perfect place for him to solidify his place in the team.
The right-arm fast bowler has been a consistent performer for his team and he will be an important part of the Australia bowling line up. His performances in the warm-up games were not that impressive but he will surely be looking to start the tournament on a high.
Adam Zampa will be the main spin option for Australia and with Nathan Lyon also in the squad, it will be important for the leg-spinner to impress early in the tournament. Afghanistan batsmen may find it difficult to read him and he will surely look to use that to his advantage.
The 26-year-old is an integral part of the Australia pace attack and he has also established himself as quite a handy batsman at the bottom of the line-up. He was quite impressive in the matches ahead of the World Cup and he will surely be looking to carry that momentum into the tournament.
The left-arm pacer was the man of the tournament in ICC World Cup 2015 and with the conditions favouring his brand of bowling, a lot will be expected from Mitchell Starc. He has not looked in great form during the warm-up matches but it will be unwise to overlook the threat presented by him.