Australia entered the world cup as favourites after many questions related to the form and fitness surrounding their squad. Despite extremely poor performances in the limited-overs cricket in past two years, Australia entered the competition with series victories against India and Pakistan behind them. The cricket pundits predicted them to finish in the top four and they did.
Where they finished?
They finished second in the points table with 7 victories and a couple of defeats. Australia remained one of those three teams who had some luck with the English weather as none of their games was washed out, others being England and Afghanistan. They made it to the semifinal where they were knocked out by England.
What went wrong?
Australian middle order failed to have any impact throughout the tournament. Around 40% of their total runs were scored by David Warner and Aaron Finch. Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis and Usman Khawaja could not live up to their names. Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis could manage only 264 runs between them which shows how badly they failed to live up to the standards. The problem haunted Aussies in the semifinal against England when they lost the openers early. They had no one to stabilize the inning in the middle overs and hence they were bowled out for a total way below average.
Player who disappointed the most
Marcus Stoinis had a tournament to forget. The man who stood there every time for Australia during crunch situations in the past two years was more of baggage than impact player. He finished the tournament with 87 runs at an average of 14.50. His 7 wickets came at 34.85 but his economy of 6.10 is an evidence of how his wickets came at a cost.
Alex Carey made it to most of the ICC world cup XIs as a wicket-keeper batsman and why not. His 375 runs came at an average of 62.50 and a strike rate of 104.16. It's not the number of runs but the circumstances that they came under impressed every cricket fan and expert. His 55 not out off 35 balls came in when Australia were 6 down for 244 in a chase of 353 against India. It was his inning that got Australia close to the target. He found himself in a similar situation once again against South Africa and responded perfectly with an 85. It was his inning of 71 which ensured a winning total on board for Australia under challenging conditions and once again his 46 in the semifinal gave some hopes to Australia. Many experts compared him with Michael Hussey during the tournament. Has Australia probably found a replacement for both Mike Hussey and Adam Gilchrist in Alex Carey finally? Time will tell the answer.
What's next for them?
The 5-time world champions have an excellent mixture of young and experienced players in their team. They have one of the best first-class structures in the world and don't be surprised if they clinch their first World T20 title next year which will be hosted at their home. Their next assignment is the Ashes which is nothing less than a world cup for them and it's not far away either (Starting in August). They already have their team touring the UK and the tour has been fruitful for Australia as they have got a fresh and roaring Josh Hazlewood in some practice games before the Ashes begins. The A team's series has also thrown in some names for the selectors to consider as well.
More articles: Cricket