Warner accepts blame for WT20 failure | cricket.com.au

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Warner accepts blame for WT20 failure

Australia vice-captain says his own lack of runs contributed to group stage exit at ICC event

Much like his captain before him, David Warner has shouldered the responsibility for Australia's misfiring middle order in the World T20.

Warner averaged 9.5 across four matches in his new role in the middle order during Australia's unsuccessful World T20 campaign in March.

However, in seven matches opening the innings in the Indian Premier League, the explosive left-hander has scored 386 runs to be the competition's leading run-scorer.

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But Warner doesn't put his form reversal down to the change in position.

"I think the difference between that (World T20) and here (IPL) is the fact that from a team balance point of view for Australia (batting in the middle-order) was the right way to go about it," Warner said on Saturday.

"We tried it (batting in the middle order) in South Africa, we wanted a left-hand, right-hand combination and some more depth in the middle.

"I spoke to Smudge (captain Steve Smith) about it, I agreed with him to do it, I put my hand up, and I've done it in the past.

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"At the end of the day our top order did go well. It was our middle order that didn't fire.

"It is always tough when you look back and say 'in hindsight' but we just didn't perform, as simple as that.

"It takes a couple of game and then you come out here and play the way you do, that's just cricket. You can have your purple patches."

Warner's comments echo his captain Smith's, who agreed it was the middle order that hurt Australia's quest for a maiden World T20 title.

"I thought the top of our order played pretty well," Smith told cricket.com.au in Hyderabad.

"Usman (Khawaja) got us off to a good start every game. He was in very good form, probably the most in-form batter in the Australian team in the past year or thereabouts.

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"You could have gone all different ways.

"But I thought Warner is a good player. He was able to adjust and play well (in the middle order) in South Africa – he plays spin well.

"Our middle order let us down.

"We got off to good starts in most of our games and the middle order, myself included, weren't up to the task in this particular World Cup."

Blessed with a surplus of top-order talent in Australia's 15-man squad, one of the biggest selection headaches the national selectors had during the World T20 was trying to squeeze five batsmen into top-order four spots.

Usman Khawaja was the hottest player in the country, Shane Watson was coming off a T20 international hundred opening the batting, Aaron Finch was the No.1 rated T20 batsman in the world and Warner is Australia's most prolific opener, with skipper Smith to nestle in the middle somewhere.

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The national selectors and Smith, who sets the batting order, initially went with the combination of Watson and Khawaja fir the first two matches before Finch was recalled and Watson moved to No.6 in the order.

While both opening combinations performed adroitly in the competition, media pundits and ex-players, such as Australia legend Shane Warne, believed splitting the Warner-Finch pairing was a mistake.

Adding credence to Warne's opinion has been the form of Warner and Finch in the IPL, with the latter notching three consecutive man-of-the-match performances together to start the tournament before injury struck.

"I know Khawaja was in unbelievable form and had to play but I would have batted him at No.3," Warne told cricket.com.au in March.

"I don't think they should have broken up Finch and Warner and I think it upset the balance of the team.

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"Those two guys had been batting together for a long time, they have done well in Twenty20, they've done well in one-day cricket, and suddenly they got spilt up.

"And I just would never, ever have left Aaron Finch out. 

"Even if he missed out in a few games, I think that Finch-Warner partnership, it's an intimidatory factor before a ball was bowled and people would have worried about Finch and Warner.

"It's not to say they didn't worry about Khawaja, but I just think the other two are more destructive."