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Australia’s Historic ODI Series Loss to South Africa Raises Concerns Ahead of World Cup

Australia, Australia vs South Africa, Cricket, Cricket News, ODI Series, South Africa, World Cup

In a stunning turn of events, Australia’s cricket team found themselves on the wrong side of history as they suffered a 3-2 series defeat to South Africa in the recent ODI series. What makes this loss particularly significant is that Australia had led the series 2-0 before suffering a remarkable collapse, becoming the first Australian side to lose an ODI series after holding a 2-0 advantage.

The series concluded with South Africa delivering a crushing blow to Australia, securing a 122-run victory in Johannesburg. Australia’s batting lineup faltered as they were bundled out for just 193 runs in 34.1 overs, with South African bowlers Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj wreaking havoc, taking five and four wickets respectively, both recording career-best figures.

Aiden Markram’s brilliant innings of 93 runs earlier in the match had propelled South Africa to a total of 315 runs for the loss of nine wickets. This victory marked South Africa’s third consecutive win by a margin of over 100 runs, underlining their remarkable comeback from a 2-0 deficit in the series.

The Australian team’s batting woes were evident throughout the series, with concerning collapses in multiple matches. Coach Andrew McDonald highlighted the need to protect their lower-order hitters, emphasizing the importance of not exposing them too early in the innings.

“We can’t afford to expose our lower-order hitters at six and seven, where we do have some power down there, too early,” McDonald stated. “It’s something we need to tighten up on. You can’t win too many games of cricket if you’re getting exposed, four, five down before the halfway mark of the innings.”

Adding to Australia’s concerns is the injury to opening batter Travis Head, who broke his hand after being struck on the glove during the fourth ODI. While Head won’t require surgery, his availability for the first half of the upcoming Cricket World Cup in India remains uncertain. This development has left selectors with a challenging decision regarding his inclusion in the squad.

“The time frame is still a little bit loose,” McDonald explained. “The good news is he doesn’t require surgery, as it stands at the moment. There will be an extended period of time out, and we’ve got to weigh up whether that time falls potentially with an option to carry him through the front half of the World Cup. There’s no doubt he won’t be available for the front half.”

In light of Head’s injury, Marnus Labuschagne, who was initially omitted from the World Cup squad, is now considered a likely addition. Labuschagne’s outstanding performance in the South Africa series, where he emerged as Australia’s leading run-scorer with 283 runs at an average of 70.75, has bolstered his case for inclusion.

“I can’t talk on behalf of the selection panel and lock him away for the World Cup (squad of) 15, but it’s no doubt looking likely,” McDonald noted. “I think he’s made a significant shift in his intent at the crease and putting the bowlers under pressure from where he was 12 months ago. There’s no doubt he’ll be front-and-center when it comes to the 15-man squad later on down the track.”

Australia’s preparations for the upcoming World Cup will continue with a three-match series against India, commencing in Mohali on Friday. The team is expected to receive a boost with the return of regular captain Pat Cummins, fast bowler Mitchell Starc, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, and star batter Steve Smith.

Reflecting on the series loss, Australian captain Mitch Marsh acknowledged the team’s disappointing performance but remained optimistic about their prospects in the World Cup.

“We were outplayed in the last three games, but we have a one-day game in India on Friday, a lot of players coming back, and a big World Cup coming up,” Marsh stated.

As Australia regroups and looks ahead to the World Cup in India, they will undoubtedly be aiming to address their recent batting struggles and regain their winning form on the international stage.

Reference:

https://au.sports.yahoo.com/aussies-make-unwanted-cricket-history-horrible-scenes-before-odi-world-cup-212043707.html

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