Colombo: Languishing at the bottom half of the ranking table, Australia would like to start their World T20 campaign on a positive note when they take on “giant killers” Ireland in their tournament opener here on Wednesday.
Australia have so far failed to tame the shortest format of the game and it will be a test of their character when they face William Porterfield-led Irish side, who are well known to spring a few surprises at the big stage.
Though, they have just one victory to their credit against an ICC Full Member side in the T20, their unpredictability can well be gouged by a thumping win over England in the 50-over World Cup last year at Bangalore.
- Giant-killers lurk for Australia, India
- Australia coming to terms with Twenty20 game
- Arthur says 'dumped' Hussey still in Australia's T20 plans
- I'll play chicken with the Aussies: Johnston
Ireland’s World Cup triumph over Pakistan in 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean is yet another example of their ability to surprise big teams.
The Irish have won both their warm-up matches in the build up to the championship and interestingly, they were also briefly ahead of Australia on the ranking list earlier this month, something that Kangaroos will be wary of.
Having lost to minnows Zimbabwe in the same championship in 2007 and being bundled out at the group stage in the 2009 edition, Australia will have a tough task at hand on Wednesday. “I will only rest easy when that game’s (against Ireland) passed,” Australia’s coach, Mickey Arthur, said.
“That’s not through fear of failure. They have been a giant-killer and they’re playing with a quite nice bit of freedom. Any team in this competition can win if they have a good day,” he added.
Australia warmed-up for the campaign with a comprehensive win over New Zealand, but their nine-run loss to defending champions England in their second warm-up match, courtesy to some wayward bowling from their speedsters, would be a cause of worry for captain George Bailey.
Bailey would definitely like the young quicks in Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins to be more disciplined and he would also expect a better show with the ball from experienced Shane Watson and Daniel Christian.
With Xavier Doherty unavailable for the first match, Australia will bank on the slow left-arm chinaman of Brad Hogg to put curbs on Irish scoring.
With Watson and David Warner opening the innings and Michael Hussey and Bailey leading the middle-order, Australian batting line-up certainly exhibits a settled look but the absence of their most experienced T20 campaigner in David Hussey is still debatable.