What Australia needs to do to reach T20 World Cup semi-finals after big loss to New Zealand

One game in Australia’s T20 World Cup defence, and they already face a must-watch game against England on Friday night at the MCG.

After Saturday night’s crushing 89-point loss to New Zealand, another loss to Jos Buttler’s men would almost certainly see them miss the semi-final.

The reason? In a group of six teams where only two advance, losing to the other two strongest nations is essentially a ticket back. Or, in this case, Australia’s ticket to the tournament.

If Australia are beaten by England, they will rely on Ireland or Sri Lanka to upset the Poms, among other outcomes. Yes, upheavals are coming. But Sri Lanka are no threat in these conditions and Ireland little more than a competitive minnow.

Suddenly, Australia’s dreams of back-to-back glory are on the brink. Yes, they still have four matches to get it right. But if they go 0-2, the next three will likely be dead rubbers.

It’s the unforgiving nature of the T20 World Cup structure, made even more brutal when you consider how volatile the format is at the best of times within the games themselves.

Last year, Australia, England and South Africa all won four group matches, but the Proteas failed to progress due to the net run rate. Australia’s mode of defeat at the SCG was almost as important as the defeat itself.

Always honest, Australian skipper Finch shared a similar sentiment after the game when he faced the media.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“It’s a big loss in the context of the tournament,” Finch said.

“So yeah, it hurts our net run rate… I think we’re still backing each other that we can win four games.”

It was New Zealand’s first victory in Australia in any format since 2011.

Did Australia get their bowling tactics wrong?

Adam Zampa and coach Andrew McDonald were at odds over Australia’s tactics with the ball.

While McDonald felt the plans were appropriate, Zampa felt Australia may have erred in not bowling Glenn Maxwell or picking up more pace early in New Zealand’s innings.

The Black Caps victory was set up in the PowerPlays on Saturday, as Finn Allen and Devon Conway helped New Zealand take 1-65 from their first six overs.

The hosts haven’t knocked down a trick in the PowerPlay, with Marcus Stoinis being the off-pace option at SCG.

In response, Australia were 3-37 at the same time the New Zealand Rapids were keen to knock out the counter-cutters early, Tim Southee noting that it came on the advice of the team’s hitters.

Spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi took four wickets between them, while Zampa was the only Australian spinner used.

“New Zealand probably used the facilities much better than us. We may have taken a bit too long to slow down the pace of the ball,” Zampa said after the crushing loss.

“When I talk about making the right decisions early on, do we slow down the pace in second, third or fourth just to change it up a bit?

Adam Zampa.

Adam Zampa reacts during Australia’s T20 World Cup game against New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“Maybe Maxi [Maxwell] would have been a great option.

“It felt like something had to change. On everyone’s reflection, even the PowerPlay rapids should have picked up more pace.

“Even I should have raised my hand and said I would play one in the PowerPlay.”

Australia captain Aaron Finch said after the match that Maxwell was unbeaten for the sake of the games, with Devon Conway, who beat throughout the innings, a good counter-turn player.

Australia must weigh whether to stick with the same bowling attack for Sri Lanka on Tuesday in Perth, or bring in Ashton Agar as a second front row spinner.

“Ash is still a great option for us, Maxi is also a great option for us,” Zampa said.

“We made some bad decisions and it took us a bit longer to assess the conditions.

“Once a team is 55 after four overs with 10 wickets in the hand, you’re chasing 180 if you can really get it back, or over 200 even if you have a decent back end.”

McDonald defended the use of bowlers, pointing out that Stoinis was committed in the fourth round.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I think Marcus Stoinis was probably our first change of pace,” McDonald said.

“It could have been a spinner at that time or Marcus Stoinis.

“After three overs, was it too late? It’s probably a longbow.

“Pat Cummins also threw a few slower balls. Finn put a lot of pressure on us, and Devon Conway, it was a great run.

Finn Allen, welcome!

The 23-year-old Allen didn’t just stop Martin Guptill from entering the New Zealand XI: he attacked the new Australian ball without caring who he was or what he had achieved.

Let’s be clear: there is no better PowerPlay hitter in the world than Allen. He has the highest strike rate in those crucial openings in T20 history, hitting a jaw-dropping 162 points per 100 balls. He’s a weapon of mass destruction at the top of the order, and this could be his escape game on the biggest stage.

His 42 balls from 16 got New Zealand off the ground on a flyer. After three overs, Allen was on 35 himself. At the time of his fourth-round dismissal, his team was on 56. Ooft, what a platform.

Eventually Josh Hazlewood defeated him with a classic yorker, but by then the SCG crowd was well and truly aware of who Allen was and what he could offer this New Zealand team.

Allen has already attracted attention overseas, both in the IPL and in England. His modest first-class batting average of 20 over 16 games suggests he will favor white-ball formats.

He once played for New Zealand. But this turbocharged method is like Brendon McCullum on steroids and further proof that the T20 game doesn’t stand still. His career strike rate in the format is 170.

It’s also worth noting that the last time New Zealand played Australia in a World Cup game on these shores, Mitchell Starc shook McCullum’s stumps in the first round. On Saturday night, Starc’s first six deliveries were 14. How things can change.

The curious cases of Smith and Williamson

Two modern-day big names face an uncertain T20 future. What side of the fence are you sitting on?

Was Williamson’s 23-on-23-delivery innings a) the perfect foil for Devon Conway (92 steps on 58 balls) and the platform for Jimmy Neesham? Or, b) yet another sign that the captain is lucky to be in the New Zealand team?

This calendar year, Williamson has barely scored a run per ball in T20 international cricket. His production dropped significantly, but even with his kick, the Kiwis still scored 200.

Consider that, then think of Smith, who carried the drinks to the SCG and is the reserve specialist batsman in the Australian setup. What must he be thinking to see Williamson entrusted with playing a specific and stable role for New Zealand while his Australian team-mates crumble before him?

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Smith is like Williamson, maybe even better. But Williamson was trusted to adapt – that’s the difference.

Australia’s middle order is full of huge hitters. Glenn Maxwell tried it mostly left-handed on Saturday night, Marcus Stoinis is brute force and Tim David treats cricket like practice.

At the top, Aaron Finch, David Warner, and Mitch Marsh are all potential match winners, but have very little nuance or craft. (That can be tough on Warner, which has developed this component of its game considerably in recent years.)

Basically, it’s not their natural style to anchor a sleeve. But it’s Smith’s. He can control things, handle a chase, and accelerate adequately – but not explosively – when needed.

Australia's Steve Smith looks dejected after being fired

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Would Australia chase 201 with Smith playing? Unlikely. In recent games and Saturday night’s loss, do Australia appear slightly paced and one-dimensional in their middle order? Yes.

“Smith would have been very useful tonight,” said former Australian tailor and Smith’s NSW teammate Trent Copeland. SEN.

As has been the case for 18 months, the elephant in the room is still the form of Aaron Finch, although it seems almost academic to write or talk about. He’s the captain and he won’t let himself down.

Maxwell is an 8.7 average over his last 10 T20 shots for Australia, Stoinis has just returned from injury and David is a newcomer to international level. The middle order doesn’t shoot, Finch limped to the finish line, and it’s unfair to leave it all to Warner and Wade.

The batters could also rightly argue that they weren’t the ones who leaked 200 runs from 20 overs on Saturday night. Chasing a score of this magnitude is never easy, but the batting performance was poor nonetheless.

Australia must decide quickly whether Saturday night’s loss was an aberration and whether the current XI is worth sticking with, or more drastically determine that they have prepared poorly and need a slight overhaul. After all, what are squads for?

Shane Watson said on the official broadcast that Australia must stick to their plans. If they do and it fails, they will be accused of being stubborn. If they change things and it fails, they will be called reactionaries.

And a final thought…

It’s only the early days, but surely we’ve got a hold of the tournament’s club house leader that won’t get any better.

Glenn Phillips leapt high into the night sky to pull off a howl that would rival any outfield catch in the history of the game.

“It could be one of the greatest of all time,” Copeland said on SEN.

“It brought back memories of Glenn McGrath in Adelaide, fast forward really. Full length, nearly two meters off the ground. It was an exceptional catch. »

For Phillips, it was not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as English journalist Will Macpherson tweeted. The Black Cap is renowned as one of the best outfielders in world cricket – and he also happens to be a wicketkeeper.

His catch was the icing on the cake of a superb evening for New Zealand. Even the speedy Tim Southee did his thing, capturing 3-6 with the ball.

New Zealand, as Michael Vaughan tweeted, are still showing up for the World Cups.

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