Can Australian batsmen prosper in new roles at the T20 World Cup?
It the end, Australia just managed to scramble across the line. Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis remained calm and to guide Australia home to a five-wicket win against a resilient South African unit. As expected the Australian stood up and delivered, but questions still remain about the Australian batting unit.
One of the major reasons for concern is the batting positions. David Warner and Aaron Finch are obvious choices as openers. Both players have opened for Australia and for their respective IPL and Big Bash teams. But for others, such as Wade and Stoinis their role in the national colours is vastly different to their experiences in Big Bash and IPL.
Based on the batting order from the first game we look at each player’s batting position and compare it to where they have batted for their respective BBL/IPL teams.
Batting positions for each player in T20 league (BBL & IPL) excludes Australia
From the table above it is clear David Warner and Aaron Finch are playing the same roles in the Australian setup as they would in a T20 league. However, for a Matthew Wade batting at No.6 or No.7 is completely new responsibility. Marcus Stoinis has also played a majority of his career for Melbourne Stars as an opener while Mitch Marsh has predominantly batted at No.4 or 5 in T20 league.
Top order batsman or middle order batsman?
The openers and the No.3 can be classified as the top order of the team. If we compare the batting positions for T20 leagues (IPL & BBL) against Australia it is evident Warner and Finch have played majority of their cricket in the top order at theT20 leagues and Australia.
Mitch Marsh, however, it is a newbie to the No.3 spot having only batted in the top 3 on 33% of occasions for Australia and 26% in T20 leagues. (IPL & BBL). Mitch Marsh has been outstanding in the last six months at No.3 with eight 30 plus scores in 16 innings at a strike-rate of 121.12. He is still learning the art of batting at No.3 and it is certainly not a natural position for him.
When it comes to the middle order a player like Smith is more than capable of batting in the top 3 or in the middle order. Maxwell is an experienced campaigner in the middle order having played a majority of his T20 innings at No.4 – No.7. A large chuck of Stoinis’ innings for Australia have come in the middle order but only 49% of his innings in the T20 leagues are down the order. Similarly, Wade is more accustomed to batting at the top for Australia and in T20 leagues.
T20 cricket is about designated roles and the fact is Australia is batting players in positions that are not familiar to them. Stoinis and Wade were exceptional getting Australia across the line in the first match, but as the tournament goes on there lack of experience in the middle order could be exposed.