February 25, 2020 / 10:37 AM / a month ago

Cricket-Warner says Australia on track for T20 World Cup success

CAPE TOWN, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Top batsman David Warner reckons Australia’s Twenty20 team are well on course for World Cup success later in the year as they go into the last game of their three-match T20 series in South Africa on Wednesday.

“We are definitely on track. You go back 18 months ago, even further back than that, people weren’t even rating us as a top five ranked team. But given the schedule, it was difficult to put out our best team all the time.

“But over the last 18 months we’ve established a really strong side, and we’ve consistently put out our best team every time we’ve played, and I think we’ve focused very well on the World Cup,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Australia, who host the T20 World Cup from Oct. 18 to Nov. 15, had won eight games in a row before losing to South Africa by 12 runs in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

That levelled the three match series at 1-1 going into Wednesday’s final game at Newlands.

“We’ve got a great balance in our team right now. There is a lot of credit due to the bowling unit, especially the two spinners (Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa) who’ve really worked well together. Finchy (captain Aaron Finch) has used the bowlers at the right time as well, so we are being led in the right direction,” he said.

“Our batting speaks for itself. We have great depth there and I feel we are very experienced... We don’t rely on one or two players. We’ve got 11 match winners and that’s the exciting thing about it.”

Wednesday’s game is a first return to the ground where Warner allegedly masterminded a plot to tamper with the ball using sandpaper during a test against South Africa two years ago, for which he and captain Steve Smith were banned for a year by Cricket Australia.

Smith and Warner have received little backlash from spectators in the opening two T20 games in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth in their first trip to South Africa since.

“I didn’t cop anything out on the fence. The fans have been very respectful,” said Warner.

“The past is the past. We’ve just got to focus on what is ahead of us.” (Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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