T20 World Cup: All-rounders to shoulder Australia’s fifth bowler’s role, says Pat Cummins

Australia joined England as the only two sides in Group 1 to win both of their opening games ahead of their meeting on Saturday

Amlan Chakraborty
Friday 29 October 2021 12:00 BST
Mitchell Starc bowls for Australia in their win over Sri Lanka
Mitchell Starc bowls for Australia in their win over Sri Lanka (Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Australia will continue playing four specialist pacers at the T20 World Cup with their all-rounders shouldering the fifth bowler’s role, vice-captain Pat Cummins said on Friday.

All-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis conceded a combined 51 runs from their four wicketless overs in Thursday’s victory against Sri Lanka.

Asked if Australia were tempted to revert to their five-bowler theory, Cummins said ruled out dumping the strategy which worked in the opener against South Africa when Maxwell claimed 24-1 in four overs.

“I think the flexibility that structure gives us is just huge,” Cummins said ahead of Saturday’s mouth-watering clash with Ashes rivals England.

Against Sri Lanka, Maxwell bled 16 runs in his only over, bowled during the powerplay, before being taken off the attack but Cummins said Australia, and quick Mitchell Starc, still benefited from it.

“Maxi bowling one in the first six (overs) means Starcy can have an extra over through the middle. We saw he took a couple wickets in the middle overs, that’s because we were able to have someone like Maxi ball early,” Cummins added.

“Stoinis still hasn’t bowled a lot but we know how much of an impact he can be with the ball, let alone having the option to now have that extra batter.

“I think we’re really well suited. We were covering a lot of areas with that fifth bowler. We’ve got Maxwell, Stoinis, (Mitchell) Marsh all who can contribute those four overs.”

Australia are chasing the only major global trophy that has eluded them while England are bidding to become the first team to win both the 50-overs and the 20-overs World Cup at the same time.

“I think the style of play is quite similar. We like to take the game on,” Cummins said of their opponents who also have won first two their Super 12 matches so far.

“They’ve been probably just about the form team in the last few years in white ball cricket.

“(A) huge game. We know these guys really well. We know it’s such a big game in the context of making the semi-finals, and yeah, always enjoy coming up against England.”


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