by Kobe Jacobs, ACS Literary Scholar
Given that Australia are statistically the most successful team to ever grace the One Day International scene, our expectations are for the very best from our boys each time they step onto the field. The Aussies couldn’t get the job done in 2019 after losing to the eventual winners in England. Though claiming the ICC World Cup gold in 2015 on home soil is a memory I’m sure many Aussie cricket lovers will long remember and cherish.
We as Australian cricket fans have the right to expect great things from our Men’s ODI team because quite simply, they’ve been known to perform on the big stage. Historically there’s no team better than us in this format and until another nation surpasses our total of five tournament wins, we Aussies do have the right to be extremely confident in our team.
After three Championships in 1999, 2003 and 2007, the worst possible end in an ODI World Cup tournament for our country was bowing out in the 2011 quarter-final to India. We are accustomed to seeing so much success in the one-day format, so it would be easy to think that reaching the latter stages of this current tournament in India is a given. There’s no denying that history is indicating the Aussies are in for another big tournament, however, the hard work still has to be done.
Our performances in the first two games against India and South Africa have fallen well below our lofty expectations. Can we recover from a disastrous start? The boys in green and gold are going to have to quickly turn things around to climb up the standings. Pat Cummins’ men will have their work cut for them in the upcoming games against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The results in Chennai and Lucknow pointed towards one factor, and that is to be clinical in key moments. India was clearly the better team but had Mitch Marsh not dropped Virat Kohli, it might just have been his team leaving with the two points rather than Rohit Sharma’s men. Another disastrous catching performance against the Proteas set the scene for a lacklustre performance in Lucknow. Being clinical is so vital, especially in tournaments of this magnitude.
If you look back at some of the more memorable moments this tournament has had to offer, one thing you will notice is continual evidence of a team or individual stepping up at just the right time to will their side over the line. In 1999, cricket fans were mesmerised watching one of the wildest games of cricket between Australia and South Africa in the semi-final. The iconic moment between Steve Waugh and Herschelle Gibbs is still a tale told by many Australian cricket fans. And you only have to look at Waugh’s knock of 120* during that crucial innings to realise that if it weren’t for Gibbs’ mishap in dropping Waugh, Australia most likely would have bowed out of the tournament.
So who will step up in coming matches? Will we see belligerent knocks from the likes of Marsh, Maxwell or Stoinis? Or will it be Zampa’s spin that turns the tide?
It is holding your nerve that is the most important aspect when playing in this tournament and I’m sure the Aussies will do just that when entering the latter stages of their World Cup campaign. So although not the best start to this tournament in India, be confident that our side will find their way, history backs us in.
Australian Cricket Society’s literary scholar Kobe Jacobs is mentored by writer John Harms. His pieces are also published at www.footyalmanac.com.au .