South Africa v Australia T20I - Men's
Wade, Marsh set for another chance on NZ tour
Australia's middle order hasn't yet clicked but the selectors are set to be patient with the incumbent batters
Martin Smith at Newlands, Cape Town
27 February 2020, 07:54 AM AEST
Skipper Aaron Finch wants Matthew Wade and Mitchell Marsh to be given another opportunity in next month's T20 tour of New Zealand as they look to secure a middle-order spot at this year's World Cup.
Australia's 2-1 series win over South Africa, bookended by crushing wins in Johannesburg and Cape Town, continued their hot T20 form from the home summer, with a dominant top order and a clinical bowling attack leading the way.
But concerns over the middle order remain after Wade and Marsh produced some middling performances in their comeback to the T20 set-up.
Finch said the returning duo faced a tough task in this series on pitches that both sides struggled to find momentum on in the middle overs, and indicated they will be retained for the three-match series against the Black Caps in late March.
"We're always really reluctant to change a winning formula," Finch said after Australia's 97-run win at Newlands.
"Regardless of who's available and who's not, the guys who continue to do the job for the side will keep getting opportunities.
"We've made no secret of that. A winning formula is generally a pretty good one, you don't want to mess with that too much.
"The more games that middle order can play together (the better). They haven't played a huge amount of T20 cricket together.
"You start to understand each other's games a bit more and you start to recognise patterns with people's play and the way they're thinking."
With eight months still to go until the start of the T20 World Cup, the identity of Australia's batting finisher at No.5 or No.6 in the order is the only major headache for Justin Langer and the three-man selection panel.
The absence of Glenn Maxwell due to injury for this series and the NZ tour means both Wade and Marsh were given a chance against the Proteas, scoring 29 and 44 runs respectively across the three matches.
While the duo wasn't able to produce any scores of substance, Finch praised their intent at the crease in challenging circumstances.
"The wickets have been tough to come in and score on straight away," Finch said.
"It's really difficult to just stand there and hit through the line, like you can in Australia or India.
"There were still really positive signs, the way they came out with intent. I think at times when you're in that situation, you can overthink it a little bit and go right into your shell and just try and eke out a score for yourself.
"But huge credit for the way the guys went about it. (It was) absolute team first batting."
Finch also praised his side for their response to Sunday's shock loss in Port Elizabeth, saying it was an impressive show of strength given the cut-throat nature of the World Cup format.
"It was really important to bounce back from last game when we probably had an opportunity to win," he said.
"The more experience you can keep having as a team in games like that where there's a series on the line, it's going to be really important going forward.
"I thought we played a pretty clinical game today."
Australia's side will now shift to one-day mode with the first of three ODIs against the Proteas to be played in Paarl on Saturday.
Australia's Qantas Tour of South Africa 2020
Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitch Marsh, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (vc), Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
First T20: Australia won by 107 runs
Second T20: South Africa won by 12 runs
Third T20: Australia won by 97 runs