ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Maxwell poised to make maximum impact: Finch
Allrounder set to keep his place for World Cup semi-final with Australia's captain tipping runs are 'just around the corner'
Louis Cameron in Birmingham
11 July 2019, 01:41 AM AEST
Aaron Finch has backed Glenn Maxwell to fire in the World Cup semi-final against England, as former Test captain Mark Taylor urged Australia to keep faith in the match-winning allrounder at the business end of the tournament.
Captain Finch believes runs are "just around the corner" for Maxwell, who has one of the tournament's highest strike-rates and maintains he's in career-best form despite averaging just 22 with the bat.
His status as one world cricket's best fielders and his economical off-spin remain highly valued by the Aussies. He pulled off a direct-hit run out to seal victory against Pakistan and delivered a frugal bowling spell to peg back Sri Lanka after their openers had them on course for a monster chase.
"I think runs are around the corner," Finch told a packed press conference in Birmingham on Wednesday. "He would have liked to have got a few more runs, but he's been hitting the ball nicely.
"If you look at his contribution in the field, he's up there with most runs saved in the field, his great run-out at Taunton to win that game for us against Pakistan in a really tight game.
"He hasn't got the wickets, but he's bowled really tight. He's bowled some key overs for us that have allowed us to mix and match our bowlers through them middle overs.
"As far as the runs, I'm not bothered about that at all because the way he's batting, the way that he's going about his innings, I think there's some real positives there, so runs are just around the corner and we know how damaging he is.
"When he gets in, he can be as destructive as anyone in the world, so that is a huge positive. I think the overall package, the three factors that he brings to the game is still a very exciting package."
Finch insisted there was nothing to read into regarding the absence of Maxwell, regularly an eager trainer, from Australia's optional session at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Peter Handscomb will come into the XI for the injured Usman Khawaja to face England, while Matthew Wade is now officially available for selection after the ICC confirmed he'd been approved as Khawaja's replacement in Australia's 15-man squad.
But Taylor stressed the Aussies need to keep faith in Maxwell, who has played in each of Australia's last 25 ODIs, for their "cut-throat" game.
"I think it is really late in the tournament to be blooding someone," Taylor told SEN SA's Dwayne's World. "Unless Glenn Maxwell is terribly out of form I would be playing Maxwell."
"He's at least been there for five or six weeks and knows what to expect. He is the sort of guy we all know can click and change and win you a game.
"If he comes off at No.5 or No.6, he is the kind of guy who can win you a World Cup semi-final."
England, whose captain Eoin Morgan said Maxwell has long been a dangerman for Australia, have a selection decision of their own to make.
Their XI that features four specialist fast bowlers, plus seam-bowling allrounder Ben Stokes, hasn't changed since they defeated India by 31 runs at this venue on June 30 after smashing 7-337.
Morgan suggested Liam Plunkett will hold his spot if the curator keeps a decent covering of grass on the surface, but off-spinning allrounder Moeen Ali could come into consideration if they shave it off.
"It depends on the groundsman's final preparation this afternoon," said Morgan. "I haven't been able to look at the wicket since yesterday.
"He said he was going to take more grass off the wicket, but it looked good. It looked as good as the game that we played India here, so if it is, we'll try and select accordingly.
"If he takes more grass off, if it looks like it is going to turn, that decision makes itself … we will lean towards the spinner," said Morgan.
2019 World Cup
Australia's squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
June 12: Australia beat Pakistan by 41 runs
June 15: Australia beat Sri Lanka by 87 runs
June 20: Australia beat Bangladesh by 48 runs
June 25: Australia beat England by 64 runs
July 14: Final, TBC v New Zealand, Lord's
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For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE