Power-playbook: The boldness behind Aussie resurgence

The top order has been instrumental in turning Australia's fortunes around, becoming the World Cup's best Powerplay team

Australia called for more aggression, and they got it. In fact, it might have turned their World Cup campaign around.

After the Aussies suffered two humbling losses to begin the tournament, the boldness of their top order has been a major factor in the team's resurgence.

Now eyeing off their fifth win in a row when they meet England on Saturday, Australia have David Warner, Mitch Marsh and, most recently, Travis Head to thank for setting up victories with their Powerplay dominance.

Difficult conditions (in Chennai and Lucknow) and opponents (India and South Africa) in the opening two matches saw Australia's top order stutter with Powerplay scores of 1-43 and 3-50.  

In those games, Warner and Marsh were out to tentative shots off opposition pace bowlers, with the former explaining some mitigating factors.

"First game against India the wicket was a tad slow, and we did our best, we tried to be as positive as we could," said Warner.

"In the second game, obviously under lights, the ball was swinging and holding in the wicket.  

"You can't really throw the kitchen sink at it, when it's hooping around, you've actually got to respect it."   

Since the 134-run loss to the Proteas, Australia have upped their intent to become the best batting Powerplay team in the tournament.  

Their average score after the first 10 overs sits at 69.9, way ahead of the second-best side, India (60.2).  

In their past four victories, Australia are averaging 81.8 runs in the Powerplay (a strike rate of 136.36).

"Our group's big on talking about the style that we want to play," Australia captain Pat Cummins said before the match against New Zealand.  

"I think in the first two games not only did we not win, but we didn't really nail the style that we wanted to play.  

"In the last few games you've seen us be a bit more aggressive - batting and bowling." 

The top order took heed of their skipper's words the following day, as Warner and Head hammered the best Powerplay of the tournament against the Kiwis, an astounding 0-118 at the modestly-sized HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala.  

Red-hot Warner, Head make outrageous start to NZ clash

Warner narrowly missed his third-consecutive century while Head, in his first match back after a broken hand, smashed a 59-ball ton.

Just like against Pakistan, Australia not only scored quickly while only two fielders were outside the 30-yard circle, but went through without losing a wicket.

It set a strong platform to launch their third-straight 350+ score, becoming the first team in men's ODI history to achieve that feat.  

Aussies smash 20 sixes en route to mammoth 388

"I think we summed it up really, really well," Head told reporters after his blazing hundred.  

"There are times where we can't go as aggressive, and there's obviously been periods that we have.

"We're not setting out and do it every time. We understand that there's different times and different tempos you need, and I think we did that throughout the 20 odd overs that we batted together." 

Even early wickets haven't seen the Aussies retreat to defensive play.  

In Lucknow against Sri Lanka, Australia found themselves 2-24 against just days after being rolled for 177 at the same venue by South Africa.  

But Marsh kept the foot down after weathering an electric new-ball from Dilshan Madushanka, to get Australia to 2-64 after 10.  

Australia have lost only seven Powerplay wickets in their six matches so far (only Afghanistan have lost fewer with five) but will have their style tested in their upcoming clash against England, a team that has taken the second-most Powerplay wickets (their 10 sits behind only South Africa's 18).

Australia's 2023 ODI World Cup fixtures

October 8: Lost to India by six wickets

October 12: Lost to South Africa by 134 runs

October 16: Defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets

October 20: Defeated Pakistan by 62 runs

October 25: Defeated Netherlands by 309 runs

October 28: Defeated New Zealand by five runs

November 4: v England, Ahmedabad (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

November 7: v Afghanistan, Mumbai (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

November 11: v Bangladesh, Pune, 4pm AEDT

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

2023 World Cup standings

Matches played
No results
Net Run Rate
Total points
1 India Men India Men IND 9 9 0 0 0 2.57 0 18
2 South Africa Men South Africa Men SA 9 7 2 0 0 1.261 0 14
3 Australia Men Australia Men AUS 9 7 2 0 0 0.841 0 14
4 New Zealand Men New Zealand Men NZ 9 5 4 0 0 0.743 0 10
5 Pakistan Men Pakistan Men PAK 9 4 5 0 0 -0.199 0 8
6 Afghanistan Men Afghanistan Men AFG 9 4 5 0 0 -0.336 0 8
7 England Men England Men ENG 9 3 6 0 0 -0.572 0 6
8 Bangladesh Men Bangladesh Men BAN 9 2 7 0 0 -1.087 0 4
9 Sri Lanka Men Sri Lanka Men SL 9 2 7 0 0 -1.419 0 4
10 Netherlands Men Netherlands Men NED 9 2 7 0 0 -1.825 0 4

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

T: Ties

N/R: No results

NRR: Net Run Rate

Ded.: Deductions

PTS: Total points