The 2022 T20 World Cup began this week, after months of anticipation.
Eight teams are currently fighting to compete in the Super 12 phase of the World Cup, where they will join another eight sides that have already qualified for the main stage of the event.
One of those sides is Australia, who are both the host nation and defending champions of the T20 World Cup. Ranked No.6 in the world, Australia have a strong team that will front up to defend their title, and they lead the odds at most major bookmakers to do so.
We break down all there is to know about Australia’s World Cup campaign over the next three weeks, from the make-up of their squad through to the side’s chances of making a deep run in November.
Australia T20 World Cup 2022 Squad Analysis
This time last month, Australia announced a 15-man squad in their attempt to defend the T20 World Cup for the first time. Here’s who has been entrusted with this task from Australia:
Aaron Finch (captain), David Warner, Steve Smith, Tim David, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh, Josh Inglis, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Ashton Agar, Kane Richardson, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa.
Potential First XI
Here’s what Australia’s playing XI could look like when they face off against New Zealand this weekend:
- David Warner
- Aaron Finch (captain)
- Mitchell Marsh
- Glenn Maxwell
- Marcus Stoinis
- Tim David
- Matthew Wade
- Pat Cummins
- Mitchell Starc
- Josh Hazlewood
- Adam Zampa
Strengths of the Australian Squad
On paper, there are few teams better than Australia. They have managed to build nicely towards this year’s World Cup, and appear to have navigated injury concerns successfully. Here are the two key strengths we see in this side:
Seven Genuine Bowling Options
Chances are, Australia will name a team this weekend that has seven genuine bowling options. Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are the pace bowlers, who can break the back of a team in the early overs and close it out at the death. Adam Zampa then offers a specialist spin option, while Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis are all genuine all-rounders.
The beauty of not just relying on five bowlers to bowl out their four overs is that captain Aaron Finch will have plenty of options to choose from to handle different pitches and batting attacks. This makes the Australian bowling attack incredibly adaptable. As well as this, if a bowler is having an off day, rather than having to push through, another bowler can step in.
Form of the Davids
Australia have a top seven that would make most cricketing nations green with envy. So much so, that at this stage, it looks as though generational talent Steve Smith will be unable to force his way into the starting lineup.
However, two players, in particular, are stand-out strengths for Australia at the moment. David Warner is yet again having a blinder of a season, scoring an average of 49.33 at a strike rate of 156.61 across his innings in 2022. While this is nothing new for Australia, their latest addition to the side, Tim David, has been something of a revelation.
The ex-Singaporean representative has made a name for himself in T20 leagues, landing him a spot in the Australian side. The past two months, starting from the tour of India, he has well and truly made the most of it, forcing his way into the playing 11 by striking at 165.95 in his seven games.
Weaknesses of the Australian Squad
While Australia are heavily favored in this World Cup, there are a few areas of concern in their squad. Here are two, in particular, that stand out:
Injury Clouds Over Marsh, Stoinis and Starc
In Australia’s most recent T20I series, a significant amount of games have been played without Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Starc.
Each player has what has been termed a low-level injury—ankle, side and knee, respectively. While Australia has said that all three are good to go for the opening match, this has to be an area of concern. Firstly, they are short on recent match play, and secondly, there’s always the chance that these injuries flare back up again.
An Australian team without these three a game or two into the T20 World Cup 2022 is suddenly looking a lot less menacing.
Captain Finch Struggling at the Top
Just when it seems as though Aaron Finch is going to be dropped from the team that he leads, he comes through with a brilliant match-winning score.
Australia will be hoping this cycle comes true again, as Finch is dry on runs and struggling at the top of the order. Swapping him out for another player—Steve Smith is on the bench—would be the obvious decision, were it not for the fact that Finch leads the side.
Stick with an out-of-form opener too long, however, and it could be to the detriment of Australia’s World Cup campaign.
Predicted Performers for Australia
With so many potential match winners in the side, it’s hard to pick who will stand up for Australia this World Cup. Here’s who we think has a good chance of being a big performer over the next three weeks:
- David Warner—Australia’s opener just keeps piling on the runs in his career, with a total of 2850 T20I and 5881 IPL runs to his name so far. All signs point towards Warner continuing this form. He loves Australian conditions, thrives on the big stage, and is currently in good touch.
- Marcus Stoinis—years ago, Stoinis burst onto the international scene by nearly beating New Zealand single-handedly. The 33-year-old loves to hit a match-winning score, and with a fairly average 2022 so far, there’s every chance that we’ll see Stoinis rise to the occasion this World Cup and perform for his country.
Predicted Flops for Australia
On the contrary, some of Australia’s stars may well fail to fire this World Cup. Here’s who is in danger of having a nondescript campaign:
- Mitchell Marsh—the star of Australia’s World Cup campaign this time last year is in danger of heading into this tournament a little undercooked. With a batting average of 19.00 this season and no international wickets, plus coming off an injury and lacking recent matches, it’s a perfect storm for Marsh to struggle this World Cup.
- Tim David—Australia’s latest star has shown all the right signs in the last two months, doing enough to force himself into the playing 11. But will playing in front of packed stadiums at the back end of the World Cup be too much for this inexperienced player? David could either thrive, or flop, and is very much an unknown quantity for Australia despite his recent good performances.
Australia’s Recent Form
Here’s a look at Australia’s last five T20I matches:
- Won by three wickets with 1 ball remaining (against the West Indies on October 5)
- Won by 31 runs (against the West Indies on October 7)
- Lost by 8 runs (against England on October 9)
- Lost by 8 runs (against England on October 12)
- No result (against England on October 14)
Overall, Australia are 10-6 in T20Is this year.
Prediction for Australia’s Group Matches
Looking ahead to Australia’s games in the 2022 T20 World Cup, the team is in Group 1 and will play five group matches to try to qualify for the semi-finals. Here’s a look at Australia’s schedule, and our predictions for each match:
- October 22—New Zealand (Australia to win)
- October 25— Group A winner (Australia to win)
- October 28—England (England to win)
- October 31—Group B runner-up (Australia to win)
- November 4—Afghanistan (Australia to win)
We see Australia topping Group 1, and likely only suffering one defeat to fellow cricketing giants England.
This tournament is Australia’s to lose.
Not only are Australia the home favorites playing in front of a supportive crowd, but they are also favorites at the bookmakers as well. This is for good reason: Despite Australia being ranked 6th in the world in T20 cricket, and having put together a modest 10-6 record so far this season, they are building well towards a title defence.
Crucially, Australia have two factors working in their favor, besides a home crowd. The country are notorious winners of ICC tournaments, having picked up the T20 World Cup crown less than 12 months ago. Heading into major cricket events, Australia always has the confidence they will perform. Secondly, their entire game is perfectly suited to home conditions, and this gives them a huge leg up over the opposition.
Expect Australia to face some tough opposition in the Group, but survive the test, move through to the knockout phase, and then perform on the big stage to claim back-to-back World Cups.
Our verdict: Australia will win the 2022 T20 World Cup.