Australia coach Justin Langer believes the contributions of all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis can’t be underestimated as they gear up for the knockouts.
Australia coach Justin Langer singled out all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis for praise
If Australia beat South Africa in their final group game at Old Trafford then they will top the table
Australia face their final group-stage match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 against South Africa at Old Trafford on Saturday, where victory would guarantee top spot in the table and a semi-final at the same venue against the fourth-placed side – either New Zealand or Pakistan.
During Australia’s seven wins from eight games so far, Maxwell has shown glimpses of his destructive batting – most notably with an unbeaten 46 against Sri Lanka – although he has only averaged 23.83.
His career ODI strike rate of 124.20 is the second-best in history for players with more than 15 ODI innings, trailing only Andre Russell’s 130.22, and it’s that game-changing ability that means Langer is confident the 30-year-old could yet play a pivotal role.
“We love what Maxy brings to crease,” said the coach. “He’s not got the runs at this World Cup but he brings energy in every contest. That’s with his fielding, his bowling and in the changing room.
“But something that really distinguishes Maxy from everyone else is his incredible strike rate.
“He averages 30 [32.67 in ODIs] compared to Virat Kohli averaging 60 [59.52] and Virat is obviously a great player but Maxy brings a strike rate which is something different from most players in the world.
“Of course we hope he has a match-winning innings somewhere – it would be great for him and great for the team, more importantly. But we’re confident he’s doing a great job for us.”
While Maxwell’s main contributions have come with the bat, Stoinis has impressed more with the ball in taking seven wickets across six matches, at an average of 30.28.
He moved up to bat at five in the last match against New Zealand, but was out for 21, which ensured his average at this World Cup is 16.25.
But Langer is convinced the 29-year-old is ready to make a telling contribution for Australia over the next couple of matches.
“Stoinis has been really good with the ball, especially bowling at the death,” added Langer. “He brings balance to side.
“We got him up to bat at five the other day, we were planning to get him time in the middle regardless of the situation but we didn’t have to manufacture it because of the wickets that fell.
“He’s been working on bringing more energy early in his innings and he started off well with a lovely cut shot over point and a cover drive but he probably didn’t grab the opportunity to spend more time in middle.
“He’s a very important part of the team because of what he can bring – he’s a brilliant fielder as well.
“Like Maxy, he would love some more runs. As a batsman, there’s nothing better for your confidence than having runs under your belt. He’s working hard and hopefully he has a match-winning or match-turning innings in the next couple of games.”
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