Australia is drawing ever closer to a T20 World Cup semi-final berth, but skipper Aaron Finch has warned his troops not to get carried away.
Aaron Finch insists Australia will be focused on maintaining its “energetic” brand of cricket, not on its chances of tasting T20 World Cup glory for the very first time, when it meets the West Indies in a crucial clash this Saturday night (AEDT).
By shellacking Bangladesh on Thursday night, the Aussies boosted their net run-rate enough that they are all but certain to qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament with one more victory.
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Poor results on tour in the winter and a lack of recent game time for key members of the squad led some to write Australia off ahead of the World Cup, but Finch’s men are now tantalisingly close to the business end of the tournament.
However, the skipper says his side can’t afford to become caught up in the fairy tale.
“We’re honestly just focused on tomorrow,” he told reporters on Friday.
“We’ll move our attention as a group to the West Indies. We never put the cart before the horse.
“We’ve just got to play our best game again.”
Finch is hoping Australia can recreate the strong start it produced against Bangladesh – led by master spinner Adam Zampa, the Aussies bowled Bangladesh out for just 73 runs and then stormed home to victory with more than 13 overs to spare.
“We made a conscious effort to bring a bit more energy in the field,” Finch said.
“I think the way that we started the game on the back of a really poor performance against England was outstanding.
“Everyone seems in really good spirits … it was really well done by our boys.”
But Finch is wary of the West Indies side, which crushed the Aussies 4-1 in their tour of the Caribbean earlier this year.
Australia comes into the rematch with everything to play for, while the West Indies has much less to prove, given it can’t qualify for the next stage of the tournament.
“West Indies is such a dangerous side,” Finch said.
“We saw that when we played them (on tour); obviously with them being out of the competition now they’ve got nothing to lose, which can also be really dangerous.”
Another captain’s knock from Finch will go a long way to ensuring the Aussies advance to the semi-finals.
Sensing an opportunity to boost the net run-rate, Finch slogged his way to 40 runs from 20 balls, putting to bed any lingering doubt he was still recovering from the knee surgery he underwent in August.
“It was nice to get a few in the middle,” he said.
“I feel as though my footwork patterns have been pretty good.
“When you’re coming off an injury or you’re coming back from any kind of lay-off, it can take a little bit of time to get back up to speed, but I feel like I’m playing reasonably well.”
Finch is hoping Zampa, who took 5-19 on Thursday night, will bring his best to the West Indies clash.
“He’s a huge weapon,” Finch said.
“He often bowls maybe one over in the powerplay, but then he’ll go straight after the powerplay, which puts so much pressure on the opposition.
“His skills are brilliant and they keep improving.
“I think what’s been the most important thing is he gets very, very good players out consistently.”