With hosts and defending champions Australia facing Ashes rivals England in a must-win clash in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup here on Friday, pressure has increased on their skipper Aaron Finch as he struggled to get going against Sri Lanka.
The right-handed opener struggled during Australia’s seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka on Sunday, failing to get going on a hard and fast-paced surface in Perth. He managed an unbeaten on a rather sedate 31 off 42 as Marcus Stoinis’ pyrotechnics took the Aussies home.
However, Finch said he was not worried by his struggle to give the ball a mighty heave as he goes about his job after the home team’s chances of qualifying for the knockout round improved following England’s defeat to Ireland on Wednesday.
“I think it’s an anomaly in my career. It’s just one of those days. I hit a really nice pull straight to the fielder, and then an off drive in the same over, straight to the field. I felt I was playing quite well… probably went into my shell a little bit and looked to just get off rather than hitting good strong shots out to a field, out to a deep man. I was trying to get off a strike in the ring, which is never, it’s never easy when you’re facing a world-class spinner like (Maheesh) Theekshana,” said Finch in the pre-match press conference ahead of Friday’s clash with England.
“That’s probably what I will change next time. I think I was probably one or two boundaries away from being back to a runner ball and it probably looks a little bit different there,” he said.
He added that another reason for going slow was that he did not want to expose his middle order to the attack too early with the ball zipping around a bit.
“We identified early in the game or in our power play when the ball was zipping around a bit that we didn’t want to try over-attack and expose the middle order too early because then you risk going two or three down in the power play. And then it’s a struggle to get the game back into a position where you can get home a little bit more comfortable.
“So it’s just that middle part. I think straight after the 10-over timeout, (indiscernible), so a lot of dot balls there. But I still feel like I’m playing pretty well,” he said.
Asked whether the match against England makes it a perfect scenario for him to produce a big one on the big stage, Finch said he was still confident in his game.
“You want to produce every game. And I don’t think — no one can try any harder. That’s the thing, everyone’s, both teams, all the teams that are here, everyone tries as hard as they can to perform on the day.
“And I still feel confident in my game, 100 percent. It doesn’t get much bigger than MCG, with a full house. I think it’s sold out, with a lot on the line.
“It will be a great occasion and hopefully the weather clears up and we can have a great game,” Finch added.