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Pat Cummins wants Australia to get better in middle overs

Last updated on 11 Oct 2023 | 10:08 AM
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Pat Cummins wants Australia to get better in middle overs

Australia have terrible numbers in the middle overs since 2023, both while batting and bowling

Australia lost the plot in the middle overs (11-40) in their opening encounter of the 2023 World Cup against India and it cost them the game. They only lost one wicket in the powerplay and were 110/2 at one stage before losing their last eight wickets for just 89 runs. And, this is something that’s been happening for a while.

In fact, Australia have the worst batting average (24.7) and ball/wicket (26.3) in the middle overs in ODIs since 2023 (amongst top-10 sides). They have had too many collapses of late. What’s more, the story remains the same in the bowling department as well. Australian bowlers have the third-worst average (39.3) and second-worst strike rate (42.4) in this phase since 2023.

“It's no secret that period of the game seems to be the most important in one-day cricket, and it's the same for our bowling group. We've got to try and find ways to create wickets - it's tough sometimes to force something in the middle if there's a partnership on,” said Pat Cummins prior to Australia’s next game against South Africa in Lucknow on Thursday (October 12).

“So that's been much the same for the batters. How do we create partnerships? If they're bowling well, how do we shift the pressure back onto their bowlers and try and force their hands to make some changes? But yeah, I think it's a real delicate balance in one-day cricket of not taking huge risks, but it's not like Test cricket where you can wait it out. You have to keep the run-rate ticking over.”

There was a lot of help on offer for spinners in Chennai, but Cummins feels that might not be the case in Lucknow despite the venue having a similar history. “It’s probably in a bit of a different condition to what it is for IPL. The wicket looks really good. I haven't had a look at it today, but last night looked really good, really even. So maybe a bit of pace and bounce.”

Defending 199, Australia reduced India to 2/3 but Virat Kohli and KL Rahul took the game away from them. Adam Zampa, in particular, struggled to find his rhythm and conceded 53 runs in eight overs. There was also a lot of dew in Chennai and that made his life even more difficult.

“I think it's different at every venue. Probably have another look tonight to see if there's dew - but it doesn't seem like there's as much dew at this ground. But yeah, I don't really have a strong opinion on the dew in one-day cricket. In some games, the ball gets heavy, and it's actually better to bowl at night. In other games, it gets so slippery that it's hard to grip.”

Australia recently played an ODI series against the Proteas, which they lost 2-3 despite winning the first two games. While Australia lost their first game, South Africa had quite an outing against Sri Lanka. They hammered 428 in their 50 overs and won the game by 102 runs.

“It’s another team that I feel like we play quite a lot against, which creates a bit of rivalry. I also always find with South Africa; we always match up quite similarly. They've always got some fast bowlers and some batters that take the game on, maybe a leg spinner. So, it always feels like it's a clash of two very similar teams. No doubt it will be another great game tomorrow.”

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