'Taking nothing away from others, but...': John Buchanan names two 'match-winners' for Australia at T20 World Cup

Oct 21, 2022 07:46 AM IST

Australia kick-off their campaign against Kane Williamson's New Zealand in the Super 12 stage of the World Cup.

Australia have always been among the heavyweights in cricket. The Kangaroos won three consecutive 50-over World Cup titles between 1999 and 2007, thus taking their total tally to five and making them the most successful team in the history of the tournament. However, the same country had to wait for seven editions before they could finally get their hands on the coveted T20 World Cup trophy, which they secured after defeating New Zealand in the final last year in UAE.

Australia won the T20 World Cup for the first time in UAE last year(ICC)
Australia won the T20 World Cup for the first time in UAE last year(ICC)

Now the team has a golden opportunity to repeat the same, that too in front of home fans, but the task appears slightly tough considering the other teams placed in their pool. In order to first march into the semis, Australia will have to battle England, who recently defeated them 2-0 in a T20I series at home, and last year's finalists New Zealand. Then there are Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, two sides who can beat any team in the tournament on their day.

John Buchanan, who guided Australia to two of the five World Cup titles that they have won, feels that the hosts will pass the test with flying colours. “All the groups will be tough once the qualifying teams join the respective pools. I don't think there's an easy pool. So if you look through the Australian line I think it's a pretty well balanced side. Again I think the home team will always have an advantage,” Buchanan told HindustanTimes.com.

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Buchanan said that while the team has a number of match-winners, there is one player who could make the biggest difference. “I do see the Australia team well balanced in terms of batsman, all-rounders, pace and spin bowlers, and they've got their keepers, who can do a good job both with the glove and with the bat. I think the two guys to watch out for will probably be, and taking nothing away from the others, Mitchell Starc with the ball. I think he's a potential match winner.

“I think Tim David has been running very well. In that sort of middle order to close out the game as Matthew Wade. But I do think one of the key players for Australia will be Zampa. If he has a good tournament then Australia will have a very good tournament,” said the ex-coach.

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In fact, he also highlighted a noteworthy point about the spinner, who finished as the second highest wicket-taker in the previous edition. Zampa had then scalped 13 wickets from seven matches, which also included a match-winning five-wicket haul against Bangladesh.

"Someone like Zampa, even though they generally will prefer to bowl with protection, can be inserted into the powerplays. So I think that's really the critical role for spinners that they have the ability to bowl at any stage through the tournament.

“I think Australia basically tried to insert Zampa around about the eighth or the ninth or the tenth over and bowl him four overs straight, because of the conditions that suited him over there in that tournament. But I think here in Australia, he has the ability to bowl inside the powerplay and then at different times through the tournament,” said Buchanan.

Australia kick-off their campaign against Kane Williamson's New Zealand in the Super 12 stage of the World Cup.

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