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Smooth-sailing Australia look to cement Super Eights berth

Written by 
Published in Cricket
Monday, 10 June 2024 20:53

Australia vs Namibia
Antigua, 8.30pm local time

Big Picture - Australia pose tough challenge for Namibia

A number of the so-called 'big' teams have found this tournament a struggle so far - the hopes of England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka hang by flimsy threads while New Zealand started poorly. But myAustralia, barring their small stumble early on against Oman, are tracking nicely after their resounding performance against England in Barbados.

A win against Namibia will confirm their progression to the Super Eights ahead of their final group fixture with Scotland - a game that could yet be dripping with narrative - although they won't want to leave anything to chance. A change of venue from Bridgetown to the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua will bring with it the need to recalibrate to the conditions, but there appear very few holes in Mitchell Marsh's team, with depth on the bench as well.
The batting performance against England was a perfect team effort with a top score of 39 in a total of 201 with Glenn Maxwell's strike-rate of 112 the lowest. Perhaps, if nitpicking, one of those scores being converted would have capped things off, but it also showed how a deep batting order can just keep on going once the platform has been laid as it was by David Warner and Travis Head.
Namibia's group stage is backended by the clashes against Australia and the under-pressure England. Their captain Gerhard Erasmus was left frustrated by the performance against Scotland where he thought his team had enough runs but were below their best in the field.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
AustraliaWWWWW
Namibia LW(Super Over)WWL

In the spotlight: Adam Zampa and Bernard Scholtz

Adam Zampa is settling into the tournament very nicely after coming off a lengthy break following the Australian season. He has a brace of wickets from both outings and was one of the key differences against England when he claimed the dangerous Phil Salt with his first ball. He has developed into a white-ball great for Australia and is now just four wickets away from being their first men's player to reach 100 T20I wickets.
Left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz has been incredibly tidy in Namibia's first two outings and, along with the captain, was key to piling on the pressure against Scotland. He has 1 for 20 from both the matches, showing skilful variation of flight and pace, conceding just one four and one six across his eight overs. The prospect of taking on Australia's heavy hitters will be a daunting one but they would be wise not to take him lightly.

Team news: Australia have an eye on their quicks

Head coach Andrew McDonald said Australia would not be looking too far ahead and would pick their best XI rather than rotate players for this game, although that could come against Scotland should qualification be assured. However, he did leave the door ajar for some management of the quicks given the tight schedule ahead.

Australia (possible) 1 David Warner, 2 Travis Head, 3 Mitchell Marsh (capt), 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Tim David, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

The one change Namibia have made so far is JP Kotze for Michael van Lingen - both have made first-over ducks. The balance of their side has been knocked out of kilter somewhat by Jan Frylinck and JJ Smit being unable to bowl.

Namibia (possible) 1 JP Kotze, 2 Nikolaas Davin, 3 Jan Frylinck, 4 Gerhard Erasmus (capt), 5 Malan Kruger, 6 Zane Green (wk), 7 David Wiese, 8 Ruben Trumpelmann, 9 JJ Smit, 10 Bernard Scholtz, 11 Tangeni Lungameni

Pitch and conditions

The early signs from Antigua's first match was that it could be a quick-scoring venue as Scotland raced to their target against Oman. The breeze can play a significant factor at this ground. The forecast is for cloudy conditions but no major threat of rain.

  • David Wiese faced Australia four times in T20Is during his South Africa career
  • Quotes

    "Some time in the middle, it was a difficult surface outside the power play, [and a] challenge with spin. I think it ended up being 28 off 25 balls. But it was a significant innings in allowing the rest of the batting line-up to get where we wanted them to get to. So, albeit it wasn't the dynamic innings that we're used to with Glenn Maxwell, it was a different type of innings." Andrew McDonald on Glenn Maxwell's form

    "I think everyone's been waiting a long time for these last two games against Australia and England. Two previous winners and that's definitely the two teams you want to play and you want to sort of make a mark for yourself in those games."
    Bernard Scholtz on the challenge ahead

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