T20 World Cup Warm-Ups
Australia outclassed in final World Cup tune-up
India canter to victory despite strong showings from the Aussie middle-order, led by Steve Smith, in their last warm-up game
20 October 2021, 11:58 PM AEST
Australia were outclassed in their final T20 World Cup warm-up game as an Indian team sharpened by the Indian Premier League cantered to an easy victory at Dubai's ICC Academy Ground.
Led by a half-century from Steve Smith and strong contributions from Glenn Maxwell (37 off 28 balls) and Marcus Stoinis (41no off 25), Australia's middle order saw them recover from a disastrous start and post a competitive 5-152 from their 20 overs.
But India's top-order were rarely troubled by an Australian bowling attack short of match practice, with Rohit Sharma (60 off 41 balls) and the impressive Suryakumar Yadav (38no off 27) firing India to a comfortable win.
India even had the luxury of retiring Rohit and did not need to call upon captain Virat Kohli to bat, losing just a solitary wicket on their way to victory with 13 balls to spare.
It showed that India's players are all coming off regular appearances in the recently-concluded IPL in the UAE, while the majority of Australia's squad will enter the World Cup with far less recent game time.
Pat Cummins (0-33 off four overs) is the most extreme example, with the practice game his first match of any kind since April. He sat out the winter limited-overs tours due to the recent birth of his first child, which also delayed his arrival to the UAE to join his national teammates.
Smith (57 off 48) sent a timely reminder of his short-form prowess and gradually found fluency as he dragged Australia to a competitive total after they had slumped to 3-11.
Their nightmare start saw captain Aaron Finch (who had won the toss and elected to bat first), opening partner David Warner and No.3 Mitch Marsh all out to spin within the first 19 balls of the innings.
Ravichandran Ashwin removed Warner (lbw reverse sweeping for one) and Marsh (edging a quicker ball to slip on his 30th birthday) in successive deliveries before Finch was adjudged lbw to Ravinda Jadeja.
Write off David Warner at your own risk, says Glenn Maxwell #T20WorldCup pic.twitter.com/GCxAUN3XPb— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) October 20, 2021
Australia were desperate for Warner to have an extended hit in the middle but the left-hander faced just seven balls here after his first-ball duck against New Zealand on Monday.
Warner, one of the best T20 players in the world on his day, was dropped by his IPL side Sunrisers Hyderabad last month having been dumped as captain in the initial stage of the tournament.
In four innings since the first part of the IPL finished in April, Warner has posted scores of 0, 2, 0 and 1.
After the early collapse, Smith put on 61- and 76-run partnerships with Maxwell and Stoinis respectively, the latter expertly targeting the straight boundaries as he showed his lower-finishing capabilities with an unbeaten 41 off just 25 deliveries.
Batting in a black floppy hat, Maxwell continued his strong IPL form with an enterprising 37 off 28, playing the reverse sweep to good effect against India's legion of spin bowlers on a turning surface.
While the Aussies will have wished for more runs from their top order, they will be heartened by the performances of Smith, Maxwell and Stoinis given their T20 side's struggle to unearth consistent middle- and lower-order batters.
In contrast, KL Rahul (39 off 31) and Rohit cruised through the Powerplay with little trouble and showed no let-up as Adam Zampa (0-29 off three) was taken for 16 off the first over following the lifting of the fielding restrictions.
Glenn Maxwell to the wicket... complete with floppy hat #T20WorldCup Live scores: https://t.co/HofE3R6rUA pic.twitter.com/0PXCo6JBfp— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) October 20, 2021
Stoinis made his return to the bowling crease for the first since hurting his hamstring while playing in the IPL last month as Australia used eight different bowlers during the Indian innings.
None were able to push the Indian top-order out of their comfort zones, with a mishit from Rahul off Ashton Agar that was well caught by Warner the only blip in India's surge to victory.
Rohit made way for Hardik Pandya after bringing up a 36-ball half-century, while Suryakumar played a series of jaw-dropping strokes to highlight India's enviable depth.
Smith, with sweat pouring out of his helmet in the desert sun, had earlier upped the tempo in a late Australian batting blitz by blasting three boundaries off a Shadul Thakur over to bring up his half-century off 41 balls as 50 runs came from their final four overs.
After Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed the former skipper during a miserly final over, Matthew Wade scooped his first and only ball to the boundary as he readjusts to life as a finisher having largely been used in the top-order during Australia's T20 series this year.
Australia begin their tournament proper on Saturday (9pm AEDT) in Abu Dhabi against South Africa.
2021 Men's T20 World Cup
Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Dan Christian, Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams
How the teams are grouped
Group A: Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands, Namibia
Group B: Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, Oman
Group 1: England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, A1, B2
Group 2: India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, B1, A2