As Australia gears up for a challenging semi-final match, the team is grappling with the tough decision of finalizing their playing XI. The five-time World Cup champions have been on a winning streak, securing seven consecutive victories in the ongoing tournament. The dilemma now is to accommodate star all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, who was absent from their final group match against Bangladesh.
Stoinis or Maxwell: The All-Rounder Conundrum
With Maxwell’s potential return, Marcus Stoinis, another all-rounder, could be the one to make way. The Australian team might also consider utilizing Maxwell’s bowling skills and exclude a specialist batter like Marnus Labuschagne from the lineup.
Australia’s captain, Pat Cummins, hinted that he has almost decided on the final XI to face South Africa. However, he is still contemplating whether to include an extra all-rounder or an additional batter.
“Stoinis at No.7 provides valuable overs and is a strong finisher. But we also need to consider a middle-order batter if we think the bowling might not be as crucial and the runs can be scored during the middle overs rather than at the end,” Cummins reflected on Wednesday.
He added, “We have a top-notch squad, and we believe any player can step in at any time. We’ll work through this.”
Australia’s Confidence Despite Previous Defeat
South Africa previously defeated Australia by 134 runs in the group stage of the World Cup. However, Cummins believes that the past result won’t have much bearing as his team is now playing with a higher level of confidence.
Since their defeat, the Aussies have bounced back with seven straight wins. Cummins is optimistic that his team is well-positioned to beat the Proteas and secure their sixth World Cup title.
“We’ve improved significantly since the start of the tournament. Our bowling has consistently improved in all phases. It feels like we’re in a good place. Everyone knows their role, and things are starting to click,” Cummins stated.
No Concerns Over Pitch Conditions
Regarding the playing surfaces at the tournament, Cummins expressed no concerns. Despite a report raising some concerns about the pitch in Mumbai for India’s semi-final against New Zealand, Cummins stated that he hadn’t noticed anything wrong with the pitches used so far.
“The ICC has an independent pitch curator managing the pitches, ensuring fairness for both teams. So far, I haven’t seen any issues with the pitches we’ve played on in this tournament,” Cummins concluded.