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Captain Smith reflects on World T20 calls

Skipper responds to scrutiny following Australia early exit from ICC tournament

Australia captain Steve Smith has defended his decision to move David Warner to the middle order in the World T20 despite the left-hander's prolific start to the Indian Premier League.

Warner was dropped down the order from his regular opening position to accommodate the red-hot Usman Khawaja, who opened with Shane Watson. That initially left no room for the then world No.1 ranked T20 batsman, Aaron Finch.

Since Australia's elimination at the showpiece tournament a month ago, Warner and Finch have been in outstanding form opening the batting for their respective IPL clubs.

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While settling on the batting list was no easy decision, Smith said Australia's problems lay with a middle order unable to capitalise on the early platforms they were given.

"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.

"You could have gone all different ways.

"But I thought Warner is a good player. He was able to adjust and play well (at No.3) 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."

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In his role in the middle order, Warner scored 38 runs at 9.50 in four matches at the World T20.

In six starts opening the batting in the IPL, the Sunrisers captain has scored 294 runs at 73.50.

Finch too has blossomed at the top of the order for new IPL franchise Gujarat Lions, posting three consecutive man-of-the-match performances to begin the season.

But despite Australia's exit before the semi-finals for the second tournament in succession, Smith said his side were only one poor batting performance, and one freak T20 innings, away from advancing.

"I was happy with the squad that we had over there," Smith said. "I thought we had a good squad to win that tournament.

"That game against New Zealand we let ourselves down. We should have chased down 140 really. We weren't too far off I don't think.

"That game (against India) I thought 160 was a pretty good score and it took a pretty special innings from Virat (Kohli) to get them over the line."

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While Kohli's match-winning innings of 82no to sink Australia is undeniably an all-time World T20 classic, Smith was questioned after the match why he chose to bowl his premier spinner Adam Zampa only two overs.

Zampa's two-over spell cost 11 runs, but at the time Smith backed the intuition that has so often worked well in his short time as Australia's captain.

"Looking back at that game I should have bowled Zampa a few more overs," Smith said. "You go in and think when your guys are best to bowl, but you have to trust your instinct and gut when you actually bring them on.

"At the time Yuvraj (Singh) was in, he usually hits spin pretty well, so I thought to him in particular quicks were going to be the best.

"It didn't work out the way it was planned. But that's the game of cricket sometimes."