Australian athlete in team jersey by the seaside. Australian athlete in team jersey by the seaside.

Australia under new captain ready to kick off their campaign against Oman

The 2021 T20 World Cup champions Australia are all set to kick off their campaign for this edition in Barbados against Oman. A format that Australia hasn’t paid attention to a lot in recent years, ironic to say for a side that won the tournament less than three years ago, a victorious campaign this year would make them an all-format world champion. 

The Aussies reached the heights of greatness no team has ever come close to after winning the World Test Championship final against India and beating them again in the final to win the 2023 ODI World Cup. Pat Cummins was the one who led Australia to victory in these two finals, however, he has passed the baton to Mitchell Marsh who will be captaining the side in the mega event.

Australia’s first assignment is their opening game against Oman, which on paper, is a complete mismatch. Oman suffered a heart-breaking defeat against Namibia in their opening match which was decided in a super-over encounter. Mitchell Marsh’s side has had a disjointed build-up for the tournament with just nine full squad members available for the warm-up games. Three of their coaching staff members, namely Brad Hodge, George Bailey, and Andrew McDonald had to feature in the warm-up game.

Apart from the problems faced due to the delayed arrival of a few players, Australia would most definitely be concerned about the form of Glenn Maxwell, who had a terrible out in the Indian Premier League this season averaging just 5.77 with the bat for Royal Challengers Bengaluru. The Aussies will be hoping for their whiteball superstar to fire all guns blazing in the next 30 days. His international form however has been impressive lately with a remarkable ODI World Cup campaign not just with the bat but also with the ball. 

Oman on the other hand will be setting their hopes on the experienced Bilal Khan who provided the early breakthrough against Namibia but couldn’t handle the pressure in the super-over giving away 21 runs against David Wiese. 

It is a matter of balance for Australia as far as their playing XI is concerned. David Warner, Travis Head, Maxwell, Tim David, and Matthew Wade are all expected to play tomorrow while Cameron Green vs Marcus Stoinis could be a debate. Adam Zampa will once again take the responsibility as the lone spinner while the dangerous trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood is likely to feature. 

Oman’s captain Ilyas confirmed that he would not be changing the bowling attack after their commendable efforts against Namibia but hinted at some tweaks in the batting line-up. Kashyap Prajapati and Naseem Khushi are likely to open the innings, while skipper Ilyas, Zeeshan Maqsood, and Khalid Kail will be forming the middle order.

The previous game at this venue between Namibia and Oman was played under lights and the surface played out very tricky, but it is expected to be stable during the daytime as was the case in the match between Scotland and England where the Scottish batters enjoyed their outing in a washed-out encounter. The weather conditions will be in talks once again although the forecast is more promising for this game.