Australia claimed a T20 series win against South Africa with a convincing 97-run victory. Image by (AP Photo)

cricket

Aussies backing in Marsh, Wade for T20s

2020-02-27 19:30:44

Matthew Wade and Mitch Marsh look likely to be given another crack at cementing spots for the T20 World Cup despite underwhelming performances in South Africa.

Australia’s middle order looms as the only real area of concern after the tourists posted a big win in Cape Town to take out the series 2-1.

With Glenn Maxwell injured, Australia opted to have Wade and Marsh batting mostly at No.4 and No.5 respectively after strong Big Bash campaigns.

Neither managed to post a score of 20 or above from three innings.

Australia’s captain Aaron Finch however indicated he was satisfied with the duo’s performance, noting it had been a difficult task for the middle-order batsmen to come in and immediately start striking on slower wickets.

“We’re always really reluctant to change a winning formula and obviously with Maxi recovering from injury at the moment, that’s one of those spots there,” he said.

“The more games that middle order in particular can play together (the better), because they haven’t played a huge amount of T20 cricket together.

“You just start to understand each other’s game a little bit more and you start to recognise patterns with people’s play and the way they’re thinking, and that’s a really important part of going forward and winning a tournament, I think.”

Wade and Marsh, along with reserve batsman D’Arcy Short, have been retained for the forthcoming ODIs in South Africa and at home against New Zealand.

Australia then play T20 internationals in New Zealand next month and England in July before hosting the World Cup in October.

The commanding 97-run win in Cape Town means Australia have now won four straight T20 international series after clean sweeps of India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan last year.

Ashton Agar (3-16), Mitchell Starc (3-22) and Adam Zampa (2-10) were among five wicket-takers for the tourists at Newlands.

“The more experience you can keep having in games like that where there’s a series on the line is going to be really important going forward,” Finch said.

“I felt as though we played a pretty clinical game today.”

Starc, for the second time in the series, knocked over Quinton de Kock’s middle stump before accounting for the badly out-of-form Faf du Plessis.

Steve Smith, batting at No.5 in a retooled line-up, provided the fireworks when he smacked two sixes off the final over in a valuable cameo, while David Warner (57) combined with Finch (55) to put the Proteas on the back foot.