Australia played exceptional cricket in the T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE and were crowned world champions for the very first time in the T20 format.
Less than a year later, the Aussies have a golden opportunity to defend their title on home soil.
There has only been one change to the T20 World Cup squad that won the coveted trophy last year. The hard-hitting batter Tim David has replaced Mitchell Swepson in the 15-member squad. The rest of the winning contingent remains the same.
One of the biggest advantages for Australia in this year's T20 World Cup is that it will be played in its den. The home team is likely to get massive crowd support who will back their players to retain the trophy.
Apart from familiar conditions, there are few other factors that make Australia one of the favorites going into the T20 World Cup 2022. Here is a look at three such reasons:
#1. Experienced bowling attack
The Aussie bowling attack is an experienced one. The trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood have tasted success in the past in the shortest format and will look to replicate the same in the T20 World Cup 2022 as well.
Starc has been exceptional in the T20I format for a long period of time for Australia. In 51 T20Is, the left-arm pacer has picked up 63 wickets at an impressive average of 23.14. His economy rate of 7.55 is decent because he bowls most of his overs during power-plays and at the death overs.
Josh Hazlewood is one of the most improved T20I bowlers in recent times. The 31-year-old was one of the chief architects of Australia's win in the T20 World Cup 2021, wherein he picked up 11 wickets at an average of 15.91 in 7 matches. He has been in terrific form this year, while picking up 17 wickets in 9 games at an exceptional average of 13.
Pat Cummins, the Australian Test skipper, is also a vital member of the T20I team. The pacer has 46 T20I wickets to his name at an average of 24.15 and has done a crucial job of bowling crucial overs at times in the recent past for Australia.
Adam Zampa is an effective bowler in T20Is. In home conditions, the leggie has bagged 22 wickets at an average of 19.14 and an astounding economy rate of 6.48. The 30-year-old emerged as the highest wicket-taker for the team in the last edition, with 13 scalps. He is a wicket-taking option, especially in the middle overs for Australia, and also contains the flow of runs.
Apart from the aforementioned bowlers, the likes of Ashton Agar and Kane Richardson have done well for Australia and will look to make the most of their opportunity in the T20 World Cup 2022.
#2. All-rounders adding depth to the squad
All-rounders play a crucial role across all formats of the game, especially in T20Is. The Aussie squad has three game changers, i.e. all-rounders, who are capable of changing the course of a T20I game within a span of an over or two.
To begin with, Mitchell Marsh has been one of the most consistent run-scorers in the shortest format in recent years. In 20 T20I innings in 2021, Marsh scored at a healthy average of 36.88. He played a match-winning knock (77* from 50 balls) in the finals of the T20 World Cup 2021 and guided Australia to a historic win.
The 30-year-old has been exceptional batting at number 3 for Australia and averages 43.08 and has 6 half-centuries in 15 innings. He can be useful with the ball aswell, when the skipper requires and has picked up 15 T20I wickets at an average of 22.26.
Marcus Stoinis is another handy all-rounder in the Aussie squad. He is capable of batting at any position and getting quick runs for the team in slog overs. He has an average of 27.82 in 35 T20I innings, but his strike rate of 140.69 makes him special. With the ball, he is a capable fifth bowling option for the skipper and has 13 T20I wickets to his name.
Glenn Maxwell is one of the most feared names in T20I cricket. He is an extremely dangerous batsman, especially in the death overs and there is no stopping him once he sets his eye on the pitch. His strike rate of 152.18 in 82 T20I innings and an average of 29.33 reflects his consistency in the shortest format. He has a knack of destroying bowling attacks at his will and has three centuries and nine half-centuries to his name.
The skipper often entrusts Maxwell to bowl an over or two upfront in power-play and the move has often paid rich dividends. Maxwell has 36 T20I wickets and is a sharp customer with the ball in hand.
#3. Well settled batting unit
The opening combination of the Australian team is one of the most explosive ones in T20Is. David Warner and Aaron Finch have played a lot of T20Is together and have tasted success at the top of the order for Australia.
David Warner was the Player of the tournament in the T20 World Cup 2021 for his contribution of 289 runs in 7 innings. In 91 T20I innings, the southpaw has scored 2684 runs at an average of 33.55 and a strike rate of 140.89, including 22 fifties and a solitary century.
Aaron Finch has been a run-machine for Australia in T20Is for more than a decade. The Aussie skipper is known to be a destructive batsman, especially in power-play overs. In 95 T20I innings, he has scored 2915 runs at an average of 34.70 and has an impressive strike rate of 145.82.
Apart from them, the likes of Matthew Wade and Tim David will hold the key to Australia's success in the T20 World Cup 2022.
Wade has been in exceptional form in T20I cricket. In 8 innings in 2022, the wicket-keeper batter has an exceptional strike rate of 164.91 and has been tearing bowling attacks apart. David had an impressive series against India, where he held a strike rate of 168.18 in three innings and will be one of the players to look out for in the T20 World Cup.
Although Steve Smith has not been amongst the runs in T20Is off late, his experience could come in handy for Australia in the middle-overs.
Overall, the Aussie team has an experienced batting side, a good core of all-rounders, and a well-settled bowling unit and will surely start as favorites leading into the T20 World Cup 2022.
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