Australia call-up Mitchell Marsh after Stoinis’s side strain

TAUNTON: Australia captain Aaron Finch hopes the holders don’t become the latest World Cup team to be derailed by bad weather. Heavy rain has forced two no-results in the World Cup so far and Finch has been anxiously eyeing the forecast to see if Australia could be the next victims when they face Pakistan at Taunton today.

Pakistan’s match against Sri Lanka was washed out on Friday before the clash between South Africa and the West Indies was abandoned after less than eight overs play on Monday. There is rain predicted in the Taunton area today and Finch conceded luck with the weather could play a role in who makes the semi-finals from the 10-team group stage.
“I think it (weather) might play a huge part in the next few days,” Finch told reporters yesterday. “Next week it starts fine and looks good across the country for the remainder of the tournament. “So it’s important that you get early wins on the board because you don’t want to be on the wrong end of a couple of washouts that might leave you just outside that top four.”

Australia failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2017 Champions Trophy in England following their rained-off matches against New Zealand and Bangladesh before they lost to England on D/L method.
If the match does get underway, Finch expects unpredictable Pakistan to provide a stern test. They lost to the West Indies by seven wickets in their opening match, but shocked tournament favourites England with a fine performance.

“I think Pakistan are obviously a very dangerous side,” Finch said of Pakistan, who have only won one of their last 14 matches against Australia. “We’ve seen consistently throughout, especially ICC tournaments, that they win a lot of games and they get themselves in a position to win the tournament.

“They had a great Champions Trophy. So regardless of what kind of form Pakistan go in with, they’re always incredibly dangerous.” Pakistan survived a defeat against India in their opening game of the 2017 Champions Trophy before crushing their arch rivals in the final, leaving Finch a firm admirer of several of their players.

“They’ve got some world-class players. Obviously Babar (Azam) is in great touch batting at No. 3 and holding their batting together,” Finn said. “(Mohammad) Amir coming back and he looks to be back to his best. He’s swinging the ball again. Wahab (Riaz) has been fast and aggressive. Shadab (Khan) is a great bowler.

“Hasan (Ali) had a great Champions Trophy as well,” said Finch of the pace bowler who was the player of the Champions Trophy with 13 wickets in 2017. “When you look down their side there’s no player that you can disregard. They’ve got a lot of experience on their side. They’ve got a lot of match winners.”

Meanwhile, Australia are flying Mitchell Marsh to England as cover for Marcus Stoinis after his fellow all-rounder suffered a side strain that ruled him out of today’s World Cup match against Pakistan in Taunton.
Stoinis sustained the injury during champions Australia’s 36-run defeat by India at the Oval on Sunday. Australia, however, will wait to decide whether to bring in Marsh as a permanent tournament replacement for Stoinis-a decision that will require the approval of the World Cup’s event technical committee.

International Cricket Council regulations allow injured players to be replaced during the World Cup but they cannot then rejoin their squad if they regain full fitness later on in the tournament. “Stoinis has a bit of a side strain,” Finch told reporters in Taunton yesterday.

“He won’t be available for tomorrow. So we’re going to have to juggle around especially that all-rounder spot and have got Mitch Marsh flying over just as a bit of a precaution. “(We’re) not exactly sure on how many games he’ll miss,” added Finch. “It’s still being assessed. Over the next couple of days we’ll have a clearer picture on what that looks like.
Finch, explaining how Stoinis had been injured, added: “It was towards the back end of his second spell (against India), and he came back and bowled two overs at the death. “He was in some discomfort, it wasn’t ideal, but he still managed to bowl a couple of overs.”

Stoinis, 29, was out for a duck against India but took two for 62 with his lively medium pace including a superb and caught bowled to dismiss MS Dhoni. Marsh was not included in Australia’s original 15-man squad for the World Cup but is a member of the Australia A side which will begin a tour of England in the run-up to the Ashes Test series that starts after the one-day international showpiece event.

“He (Marsh) was meant to fly over with the Australia A side on Friday. He’s just coming a couple days early as a bit of precaution,” said Finch.” Australia have two wins from their three World Cup matches so far, having beaten both Afghanistan and the West Indies before losing to India.

They are now fourth in the table with four points. Pakistan have three points after a win, a defeat and a no-result washout. All 10 teams play each other once in the round-robin group stage, with the top four qualifying for the semi-finals. New Zealand now lead the standings with six points following three wins from as many matches. – AFP