Cricket news 2022: Australia at risk of ‘burning out’ ahead of T20 World Cup defence campaign

Canberra’s rain saved Australia from the embarrassment of a series whitewash against England, with the visitors emerging from the bilateral T20 series as 2-0 victors after Friday’s evening match at Manuka Oval was abandoned due to weather.

England outclassed the Australians in every facet of the game this week, with Matthew Mott’s men entering the T20 World Cup on a high following series wins over Pakistan in the sub-continent and now the reigning champions in their own backyard.

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But after playing six ODIs and eight T20Is against five opponents across two continents in the space of six weeks, the Australian squad is showing signs of fatigue eight days out from its tournament opener against New Zealand.

Speaking to reporters in the post-match press conference, Australian captain Aaron Finch confessed the team was at risk of “burning out” ahead of the T20 World Cup, which gets underway on Sunday.

“The guys are a little bit tired at the moment, in all honesty,” he said.

“We identified a couple of months ago that we wanted to make sure that we were be peaking at the right time at the World Cup and not beforehand, so it’s going to be important over the next couple of days to try and freshen everyone up as much as we can.

“Overall, we were pretty disappointing in this series. England definitely outplayed us.

“All in all we’re not bad, just a sharpen up would be nice.

“It’s about us peaking at the right time and not burning out too early.”

Australia will face India in one final warm-up fixture at the Gabba on Tuesday afternoon before facing their trans-Tasman rivals for a sellout contest at the SCG on Saturday, October 22.

Australian paceman Josh Hazlewood struck with his second delivery of Friday’s match, with England opener Alex Hales edging behind in the second over for a duck.

The first rain delay arrived moments after the Powerplay’s completion, restricting the match to a 17-over affair.

England No. 3 Dawid Malan and captain Jos Buttler combined for a 56-run partnership for the second wicket before Pat Cummins removed the left-handed Malan for 23 in the eighth over.

Weather intervened once again in the 10th over, and all-rounder Ben Stokes wasted no time after the second delay, smacking the first delivery over mid-wicket for a six, his first in T20Is since March 2021.

Buttler brought up his 17th T20I fifty soon after, reaching the minor milestone with three consecutive boundaries off Hazlewood in the penultimate over, which went for 22.

The England skipper, later anointed Player of the Series, pummelled 50 runs off his last 25 balls at the crease as the tourists registered 2/112 from their 12 overs, setting Australia a target of 130 through the DLS Method.

Australia’s run chase started horrifically, with England seamer Chris Woakes taking back-to-back wickets from the opening two deliveries of the innings.

Finch, playing his 100th T20I, was caught on the point boundary before a leading edge from Mitchell Marsh flew to short third man, leaving the hosts reeling at 2/0 after two balls.

Glenn Maxwell, opening the batting in place of the injured David Warner, failed to reach double figures for a seventh-consecutive knock, splicing a cover drive to mid-off and gifting Woakes his third wicket of the evening.

The Victorian’s most recent scores in T20Is are 8, 8, 1, 0, 6, 0 and 1, averaging 15.15 in the game’s shortest format this year.

Much to everyone’s frustration, rain interrupted the action yet again in the fourth over of Australia’s run chase, and umpires were eventually forced to abandon the match altogether.

Not including Friday’s washout, Australia has lost six of its seven most recent T20s against England, with the rivals scheduled to face off later this month in the T20 World Cup Super 12s.

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