Australia facing daunting UK T20 hoodoo

Smith's side looking to improve on poor Twenty20 away record in Cardiff clash

Steve Smith's Australians will have to overturn an abysmal T20 international record in the United Kingdom if they are to prevail against England in the one-off 20-over fixture in Cardiff midnight Monday night (AEST).

The Australians have played eight Twenty20 internationals in the Motherland over the past decade, winning just once, losing six times, with one no result.

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That win came courtesy of an inspired Aaron Finch, who hammered a world record 156  to almost single-handedly achieve victory two years ago in Southampton.

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This time around, Australia are without their regular T20 skipper, who is still recovering from a broken foot.

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His opening spot could be taken by newcomer Joe Burns, who impressed in the 50-over format on Thursday against Ireland with a well-made 69 at the top of the order.

Australia could also opt to open the batting with Shane Watson, who is statistically speaking the country’s second-most successful T20 opener, having scored 955 runs in 32 matches at an incredible strike-rate of 151.10 since his 2009 debut.

Watson, who fell out of favour with selectors at Test level during the Ashes, returned to Australia’s XI for the one-off ODI against Ireland last week and made a solid 26 not out from 25 deliveries.

The wildcard on the selection table is Victoria allrounder Marcus Stoinis, who could well debut and is capable of batting anywhere in the top seven.

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Whichever way the selectors go, they will be partnered by David Warner at the top of the order.

With 1,444 T20 international runs, the left-hander is Australia’s most prolific batsman in the format, and has also dominated the lucrative Indian Premier League in recent seasons, in which he captains Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The 28-year-old says that India-based experience could prove a major positive for the Australians come next year’s World T20 tournament – famously the only major piece of silverware they are yet to win.   

“All the players have played there before (and) play IPL there,” he said. “I really do think this could be one of our best chances to win the Twenty20 World Cup.

“We've probably played more (in India) than we have at home, in the Twenty20 format.”

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"As a team and a collective, we haven't won the Twenty20 World Cup before. I'd really like to win that.

"I really want to be a part of the teams that are number one in all three formats.

"That will be an outstanding achievement for us if we can be number one in all formats at the same time.”

Interestingly, Australia have only played two T20 internationals in India, and lost both, while their overall record outside their own country in the format is 23 wins from 53 matches.