Australia T20I captain Aaron Finch has pointed out that the team’s recurring issue of failing to maintain the momentum provided by their openers in the middle overs cost them the first T20I against England.
Chasing 163, Australia were cruising towards the total, needing 39 to win from 34 at one stage, when Steve Smith was dismissed by Adil Rashid off the second delivery of the 15th over. Glenn Maxwell followed Smith to the pavilion only four balls later, and Australia ultimately fell short by two runs.
England conceded just 33 from the last 31 balls of the Australia innings, taking four wickets in the process.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) September 4, 2020
Finch, while defending Smith and Maxwell for their shot selection – both lost their wickets trying to score quickly off Rashid – took some of the blame on himself and David Warner for failing to finish off the game for Australia after providing the team with a solid start.
“They [Smith and Maxwell] were both playing to a gameplan,” the Australia captain said, “so I think if you can separate the execution and the gameplan, you can look a bit deeper into it. T20 games are about making sure you take on your options and matching that up with the right gameplan so there’s plenty to work on. I’d probably be more critical of myself and Davey, who got us off to good start and neither of us really kicked on to have a match-winning contribution.”
He also highlighted that it’s Australia’s shortcomings in the middle overs – “not the first time it’s happened” – that cost them the encounter. Notably, Finch’s men had failed to chase down 159 against South Africa earlier this year, despite being 98-1 in the 13th over.
“We knew that England were going to keep coming hard and they executed really well,” Finch said. “We just struggled to find the boundary a bit in that 12-18 over mark. That is something to keep working on and that’s not the first time it’s happened, so as long as the boys keep learning and improve at it, lesson learned.”