Ponting Backs Batting

Assistant coach Ricky Ponting addresses Australia’s mis-firing batting order following their World Cup defeat to India.

Ponting has defended Australia’s misfiring top-order after their defeat to India, labelling the Aaron Finch-David Warner opening partnership among the best at the World Cup.

But Ponting also said their batting line-up must continue to be flexible, backing the decision to swap Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja in the order and suggesting Glenn Maxwell could bat further up in certain situations.

The reigning champions’ batting line-up failed at their first major challenge of the tournament at The Oval on Sunday, finishing 36 runs short of India’ 5-352 having fallen well behind the required run rate from early in the chase.

No team in World Cup history had ever reeled in that big a total, but there’s an expectation that this year’s winner will be capable of consistently setting and chasing scores that were once unimaginable in 50-over cricket.

Australia’s top-order also stumbled against West Indies, before a rescue act from Smith and the lower-order ensured they posted a competitive total nearing 300.

India, one of the tournament favourites, had earlier laid out the blueprint as Shikhar Dhawan posted a brisk century before Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni all found the fence with ease in the closing overs.

Ponting suggested the inability of Australia’s openers to find the fence early in the run chase, combined with the untimely run out of Finch for 26, were decisive factors.

“Our batting was just a little bit off again,” Ponting told cricket.com.au. “We seemed to find the field a lot in the first 10 overs.

“The run out happened at a really crucial time (the 14th over). The momentum had just started to turn there, Finchy had started to find the boundary a bit more frequently.

“We just needed someone at the top to go on and make a big hundred like Dhawan did and we would have been right in the game.”

After he battled through a lack of rhythm to post a match-winning 89 against Afghanistan in Australia’s first game, Warner was again short of his destructive best, according to Ponting.

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