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Time for Australia to play like champions

By Steve Waugh
Friday, February 25, 2022

Australia started their World Cup campaign with a performance that was more than adequate, but less than astounding. They did not look sharp and it was a staid performance for which I would give six marks out of ten. However, it was their first game and one has to give leeway since there is a long way to go in this 40-day tournament.

The batsmen were looking to get time in the middle and the pace bowlers had a good outing, and eventually, I guess the team got what they were looking for, a solid base for building momentum. Australia now face New Zealand, a side that must be grappling with the devastating news of the earthquake back home. They would not only be affected by the news, but normally a team would play with a lot of passion and emotion under such circumstances. I expect New Zealand to do the same and they will try and win a game against their arch-rivals to bring some joy in these difficult times.

New Zealand have been in a bit of a rut of late and have lost an incredible number of games considering the players they have in the side. Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori and Tim Southee are quality players but they seem to be lacking some ingredient. Their bowling is a little suspect because they depend too heavily on Vettori and this is an area that has cost them recently.

In India, they would be looking to their attacking batsmen to absorb more pressure and help the bowlers by posting big totals. Friday's game in Nagpur could be a high-scoring one and Australia would need to lift their game. I would put this Kiwi side alongside the West Indies and Pakistan as one who can upset anybody on their day.

All Australia need to do now is to show more aggression, intent and purpose. They were a little dormant in the warm-ups as well as the first game. They should look at gradually showcasing their 'A' game so that subsequent opponents know that they are in for a serious challenge.

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