BENGALURU: If you have watched David Warner strike the ball in IPL 2019, it might have been hard to believe that the destructive opener was out of international cricket for some time. The left-hander is the highest-run scorer in the league so far.
He was suspended for his involvement in the ball-tampering episode in South Africa along with Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith, who has also looked in good touch with 295 runs under his belt.
It is fair to state that IPL outings pushed Warner and Smith's case for World Cup selection. If Warner hit form from the first game itself, Smith is also gradually getting there.
These are not good signs for other cricket nations as the duo possess the ability to change games single-handedly. They steady the batting department for the Aussies. More importantly, their combined experience of 19-years will be crucial in England.
Their absence also provided regular opportunities to players like Usman Khawaja. The left-hander grabbed it with both hands to cement his place. His form in 2019 has been brilliant, scoring 769 runs in ODIs. Even Shaun Marsh impressed, with 435 runs. Both have also made the World Cup cut. And Royal Challengers Bangalore all-rounder, Marcus Stoinis feels they have a good combination to win the Cup.
“It (return of Smith and Warner) is a massive boost. Also, the fact that other players stepped up in the last three to four months adds to the mixture and definitely adds to a World Cup winning combination,” said Stoinis.
Before the ball-tampering incident, Australia's performance in ODIs had taken a serious dip, starting with the 2017 Champions Trophy. They were knocked out in the group stages of the competition and lost 17 of their next 21 matches.
However, they have peaked at the right time, picking eight straight wins in the sub-continent, including series wins in India and Pakistan (UAE).
Such wins, with players delivering the goods in all departments, will only give them further confidence to defend the World Cup title.
“I think everyone is confident. Eight wins, to have them all away from home, I think is very important for us. We needed it as well. We lost a lot of games over the last year or so. It’s good timing and everyone started to believe in each other and we started to play well as a team,” Stoinis added.
One look at their squad and it is difficult to find a weak spot. All the bases seem to be covered. With the likes of Warner, Aaron Finch and Smith at the top of the order followed by all-rounders such as Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell, they have runs written all over them. Not to forget, their attack of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins will instil fear amongst opponents.