World Cup 2019: Analysis of Australia's campaign
- The Australians failed to defend their 2015 title, here is an analysis of how their journey went.
Australia's World Cup defense ended after losing the second semi-final to England in a one-sided encounter at Edgbaston on Thursday. Towards the end of the league stage, Australia emerged as one of the favorites to win the competition for the sixth time, sitting atop the table with one game remaining. The five-time winners came into the tournament trying to defend their 2015 World Cup win, and despite a rough two years in world cricket, the Baggy Greens were coming into the tournament as one of the favorites after a string of recent successes.
In 2015, Australia won their home World Cup, defeating co-hosts New Zealand in the final after losing to the Kiwis in the group stages. The 2015 World Cup saw the emergence of Mitchell Starc, who led the Australian bowling attack that included Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson, as well as cameo appearances from Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Marsh, and a 21-year old Pat Cummins
2019 World Cup squad
Many of the stars from the 2015 World Cup were a part of the 2019 World Cup squad again as David Warner and Steven Smith were recalled back into the squad after lengthy bans from the game. Mitchell Starc was again the leader of Australia's bowling attack alongside an older Pat Cummins and backed up by Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Berehndorf, and Marcus Stoinis to varying degrees of success. Short-form specialist Glenn Maxwell was also a part of the 2019 squad.
2019 World Cup performance
The 2019 World Cup will be a tale of what could have been for the Australians as a 5-day gap between games and a disastrous training session, that led to Shaun Marsh's departure, derailed much of Australia's momentum and left them severely banged up heading into the most important part of the tournament.
An easy early fixture allowed Australia to defeat Afghanistan before they prevailed over the West Indies in a tough game. They tasted defeat for the first time at the hands of India. After the loss to India, Australia would become the first team to qualify for the semi-finals after beating Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, England, and New Zealand. They would then lose their last game of the group stages to South Africa, and then get bundled out of the tournament after a lackluster effort against arch-nemesis England.
Standouts and discoveries
Australia's top players had an exceptional tournament. David Warner relished his return to the Australian side scoring 647 runs at a staggering average of 71.88 and barring huge knocks in the final by Kane Williamson and Joe Root, will finish second on the runs table, one run short of India's Rohit Sharma. Meanwhile, Mitchell Starc will finish on top of the wickets table, a full seven wickets clear of the next best, Bangladesh's Mustafizur Rahman, with England's Jofra Archer needing to take nine wickets in the final to overtake Starc.
With Australia not taking any players under the age of 25 to the World Cup, it's hard to declare any of the Australian players as "discoveries". However, wicket-keeper and batter Alex Carey could almost be granted that award. Despite being the vice-captain of the side, Carey isn't a player that many teams would have identified as being a worry for opponents. However, Carey played a great hand with the bat and steadily progressed as the tournament wore on. He amassed 375 runs in the tournament with an average of 62.5 and hit three 50+ scores in the WC
It's fair to say that this tournament was defined by two halves of the Australian side. The best players in Australia were amongst the best players in the world; with Mitchell Starc finishing atop the wicket takers and both openers, David Warner and Aaron Finch, at the top of the runs table. Australia's best was incredible to watch during the tournament. Unfortunately, their worst was well below acceptable for the team's standards.
As a result, when the top players failed, as they did against India, South Africa, and England, the others failed to step up to take on a game-winning role. In particular, Marcus Stoinis made 87 runs at an average of 14.5 and bowled 40 overs and took 7 wickets. However, Stoinis was not alone, with leg-spinner Adam Zampa dropped during the tournament due to his inability to restrict scoring off his bowling. Glenn Maxwell was also disappointing as he could only score 177 runs at an average of 22.12 and failed to take a single wicket.
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