The process helping David shine in T20 format's 'toughest gig'

Tim David has bounced back to his devastating best in national colours to fire in the final stages of Australia's T20 World Cup preparation

Shrugging off suggestions his finishing role is the toughest gig in top-level T20 cricket, Tim David does acknowledge he is among a rare cohort of number six batting specialists in the international game's shortest format.

David's deeds over the past fortnight – where he's remained unbeaten in four of his past five innings for Australia – underscores his very specific skills and ensure he looms as a key component of the teams' plans for this year's T20 World Cup.

As the quintessential short-form freelancer who spends his year travelling the world as a bat for hire, free from the obligations that come with national and state contracts, David's belief in his unique ability is rivalled only by his preparedness to work hard on maintaining it.

It should therefore come as no surprise to anyone who has closely followed his remarkable if unconventional career that he has delivered match-deciding innings in four of his past five outings for Australia, where he's averaged 157 at a strike of 199 against world-class bowlers.

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"I always feel like if I put the work in, I'm going to keep improving, and you trust that," David said today of his recent hot streak.

"The process doesn't really change, and I've been fortunate the last few games I've had a good outcome but in my position, I can't judge myself based on outcomes all the time.

"Throughout the Big Bash, I couldn't buy a run and I wasn't taking any catches so I just tried to double down and work harder than I had before, and I'm probably seeing the fruits of that a little bit now."

Prior to last Wednesday's opening T20I against New Zealand at Wellington, which David effectively won for his team by belting an unbeaten 31 from 10 balls including the winning boundary off the final delivery, Australia captain Mitchell Marsh claimed the number six batting role was the toughest in 20-over cricket.

If that's the case, then David – who has settled into that vital middle-order position since earning his Australia cap 18 months ago – looms as one of his team's most valuable commodities heading into the World Cup.

The Singapore-born batter, who played his junior and early senior club cricket in Perth before 14 T20Is for Singapore, acknowledges the ability to hit the ball to or beyond the boundary from the first delivery faced is a highly specialised skill, but does not share his skipper's view it's the hardest.

Having witnessed first-hand the troubles Australia's top order experienced against Black Caps quicks Lockie Ferguson, Adam Milne and Ben Sears – who swung the new ball and reduced the visitors to 6-122 in last night's 12th over – he sees batting at the top of the order as a tougher assignment.

"I've played a lot of T20 games batting in the middle-order now, so I've seen a lot of scenarios and I'm learning all the time, trying to improve all the time," David said.

"That's a role that I prepare for a lot, and I think what he (Marsh) means by saying it's the hardest is that there's not a lot of guys that specialise in that position.

"But I don't think it's the hardest position.

"If you put me out there against the swinging ball at the start, where Heady (match high scorer Travis Head) was, it would have looked a lot different.

"So there's different skills sets that suit roles, but I'm certainly confident when I walk into a scenario and can try and have a positive impact for the side."

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The scenario that confronted him last night was one of the few he's not seen often in a career that's taken him to domestic franchise competitions in India, England, Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies, USA and the UAE in recent years.

With Australia's top-order holing out in failed attempts to clear the invitingly close straight boundaries at Auckland's Eden Park, David went to the wicket in the 10th over with the very real prospect of facing 30 or more deliveries for the first time in Australia colours.

He duly defended the first two balls he received after Marsh and Glenn Maxwell had departed in quick succession, then knocked the third to long-on for a single before instinct took over and he belted the first of three boundaries before he also succumbed to a miscued pull.

David conceded he doesn't often get to bat with so much time remaining in an innings, but is conscious of assessing whatever game scenario confronts him and adapting his batting approach to that situation.

The circumstances with which he's most familiar are those that unfolded at Wellington where the equation was a dauntingly straightforward 44 runs required for victory from 19 balls when he joined Marsh in the middle of Sky Stadium.

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"The most obvious thing is you have to be pretty aggressive to have a chance of winning the game," David said of the mindset he took into that moment.

"The overriding feeling was that we were a good chance because of the way the pitch was playing, and the boundary sizes square were short.

"I was saying to Mitch 'I think we need five or six sixes in 14 balls, or 15 balls' and I didn’t feel like I was going to get it (the target) running twos.

"My strength is to take the game on and it probably came to a certain stage in that game where I was like 'we’ve got to make a dent here, try and get the runs', so it kind of evolved from there.

"The big thing that’s spoken about is that if guys can go out and play their best game, we are going to win matches.

"We aren't going out there trying not to make mistakes, it’s really important to be in that positive mindset."

Having started with a couple of measured singles off NZ spinner Mitchell Santner, David wound up in Milne's penultimate over and squeezed a yorker for four past the keeper then consecutive sixes down the ground.

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With 16 needed off the final over, David and Marsh struggled to get bat on ball for the first few deliveries as veteran NZ seamer Tim Southee found reverse swing that made his yorkers tough to get away.

But when he marginally missed his length with the fifth delivery, David flicked the resulting full toss into the boundary rope at backward square which left four needed from the ultimate ball.

"The ball was actually reversing a bit, so as he (Southee) bowled it I knew it kind of was going to be hard to get under, and it felt like it tailed in a bit," David recalled of that instant that will remain an enduring image for Australian cricket.

"But I felt like I hit it pretty well, and I just looked up and I was like 'oh, it's gone in the gap – come on let's run'.

"And then thankfully it went for four, so it was a pretty good feeling.

"But it's so hard to control the outcome at that stage, you're just trying to put pressure on the bowler and put a good swing on the ball, react to what comes down.

"I think in my career so far, periods where I've tried to control the outcome too much or tried to plan too far ahead, you end up messing it up.

"You can't control the outcome.

"I've lost so many games playing in that position, in the same thing, so when it does come off and you win one, it feels pretty good."

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February 21: First T20: Australia win by six wickets with 0 balls to spare

February 23: Second T20: Australia won by 72 runs

February 25: Third T20, Auckland, 11am AEDT

Australia T20 squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

New Zealand T20 squad: Finn Allen, Devon Conway, Tim Seifert, Rachin Ravindra, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Mitchell Santner (c), Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult

February 29 – March 4: First Test, Wellington, 9am AEDT

March 8-12: Second Test, Christchurch, 9am AEDT

Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc

New Zealand Test squad: Tim Southee (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Will O'Rourke, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.