Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/8/14/a-team-ready-for-final

A-Team ready for Final

UPDATED 14 August, 2013 11:50AM AEST | by Martin Gabor

Just like the hit show in the 1980’s, Australia’s modern-day “A-Team” is rescuing cricket fans from the torturous times in England.

The likes of Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, Nic Maddinson and Glenn Maxwell have all produced match winning knocks in South Africa, but it’s the latter who has been the most consistent.

Maxwell, who has scored 244 runs at an average of 81.3 this series, has been the go to man, especially in the two games against India A.

With 145* and 93, the 24 year old will be the man to watch when the two sides meet in the final of the triangular tournament in Pretoria.

“It’s been a good chance to bat how I want to bat and it’s really shone through in the last few weeks where everything has sort of clicked”, Maxwell said.

While the aforementioned players have all made big contributions, they have received very little support from an out of sorts middle-order.

“Once a team gets a couple of wickets, they sort of get on a bit of a roll and all of a sudden the pressure jumps tenfold.”

With hefty collapses in the first three matches, it is clear that the Pretoria pitches are difficult to read early on in an innings.

However, according to Maxwell, there is value in starting slowly, as batsmen can cash in once they are set.

“The wickets aren’t generally that easy to start on, but once you get in, it’s quite good batting conditions.”

Australia A will need to be at their best when they take on India A in the final on Wednesday.

The second-placed side is coming off an 827 run-fest against South Africa A, with Shikhar Dhawan blasting an unprecedented 248 off just 150 deliveries.

The brutal opener is no stranger to Australians after he pillaged 187 in his only Test earlier in 2013 in Mohali.

“We’ll come out with our own plans to stop him. We’ve got some ideas up our sleeve so hopefully we can use those and let’s hope they work”, Maxwell quipped.

The all-rounder also highlighted Rohit Sharma as a key wicket, but conceded every member of India’s top six was capable of turning the match on its head.

“They’ve got a star-studded batting line-up and it’s hard work to try to chisel them out one by one because they’ve all got a lot of international experience.”

Maxwell’s time in the Indian Premier League has helped provide some insight into India’s strengths and weaknesses.

“I’ve played against them and with a lot of them as well, so I know a fair bit about them, so hopefully we can use that to our advantage”.

After winning all but one of their pool matches, Australia A will be keen to finish off the tournament in style.

“We’ve had a lot of guys do great individual things to get us over the line, but this time it’s going to take a big team effort from everyone.”

With the ODI side set to tour England in September, tonight’s final provides players like Maxwell with an excellent opportunity to stake their claim for a call-up.

“Hopefully I can get a bit more time in the middle over the next few weeks and get a chance to put my name back in lights for Australia.”

With 13 ODIs and a splattering of experience in the other two forms, Maxwell is hoping to prove to selectors that he is good enough to earn a spot in the top-order.

“Ideally I’d like to be batting in the top five and really spending a lot more time in the middle and showing what skills I have.”

With the “Big Show” in such ominous form, I pity the fool who has to bowl at him tonight.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 14 August, 2013 11:38AM AEST

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