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Australia: George Bailey & Co in shape despite Johnson blow


Cricketnext Staff
Mar 18, 2014 at 01:24pm IST

The fifth edition of the ICC World Twenty20 is already underway, and all 16 teams are geared up for the second most important tournament in the ICC cricket calendar. And Australia will be hoping to break their World Twenty20 hoodoo having picked a strong squad for the tournament in Bangladesh.

Australia's four unsuccessful attempts to win the only major trophy eluding them can also work to their advantage this time. The team is coming into the tournament after stunning performances in the Ashes and against South Africa in all the formats, and the players are all pumped and desperate to win their maiden T20 crown.

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According to allrounder Shane Watson, Australia are primed to win the trophy in the event's fifth edition. "We've got the most balanced side and balanced squad I've ever been involved in," Watson told reporters in South Africa. Australia ended their tour of South Africa with a 2-0 T20 series win against the hosts.

Australia: George Bailey & Co in shape despite Johnson blow

Australia's four unsuccessful attempts to win the only major trophy eluding them can also work to their advantage this time. (Getty Images)

Here's a brief insight into the team and its chances in Bangladesh.

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Strengths: The team boasts of one of the most destructive batting line-ups in the world. The likes of David Warner, Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey, Aaron Finch, Brad Hodge, Brad Haddin and Cameron White are tailor-made for the T20 format and most of them come into the tournament with runs under their belt to turn a match on its head.

Weaknesses: George bailey would be leading the squad for the first time in a major ICC tournament. The team may be on a roll at the moment, but one area where they may be found a little on the back foot is experience. While Watson, Bradd Hogg, Haddin and Hodge have been part of World Cup-winning teams, the rest of the players are inexperienced for a big stage like World T20. But so was the case with India in 2007, who turned their inexperience into a fearless attitude to win the trophy.

And the team received a body blow less than a week ahead of their first match. Due to a toe infection, Australia's Ashes hero Johnson was ruled out of the tournament due to a toe infection, leaving the bowling without a spearhead. Doug Bollinger has been called in as Johnson's replacement, but without Johnson the pace-bowling unit of Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc and Bollinger doesn't wear an intimidating look. The spin department doesn't seem incisive either, with Hogg recalled and legspinner James Muirhead thin on experience.

Past performances at World Twenty20:

2007: Australia began their tournament on a nightmarish note, losing their first group game to Zimbabwe. But the Aussies got their act together to beat England with a margin that took their net run rate past that of Zimbabwe to reach the Super 8 stage. They then beat Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and despite losing to Pakistan made it to the semis, where they lost to eventual champions India.

2009: The second edition was total disappointment for Australia, who failed to qualify for the Super 8 stage after losing both their Group C games to West Indies and Sri Lanka.

2010: The Aussies put up their best show in their third appearance at the World Twenty20 reaching the final unbeaten with wins over Pakistan and Bangladesh in the Group stage and over Sri Lanka, West Indies and India in the Super 8. They met England in the final but lost the title-battle to their archrivals by seven wickets in a one-sided game.

2012: Australia reached the Super 8 with wins over West Indies and Ireland. There they beat India and South Africa, which was enough for a place in the semis. But West Indies hammered the Australians by 74 runs to show them the exit door.

Squad: George Bailey (captain), Daniel Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Glenn Maxwell, James Muirhead, Doug Bollinger, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.

Fixtures:

March 23: Australia vs Pakistan, Mirpur

March 28: Australia vs West Indies, Mirpur

March 30: Australia vs India, Mirpur

April 1: Australia vs TBD (Qualifier A1), Mirpur

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