The Australia paceman can pinpoint the exact time he started to grow belief in the current squad
It was in a routine Twenty20 match in Bangalore just four months ago that Australia first really believed they could push for the World Cup.
Still in the middle of a horror run that extended back to January 2017, Australia had slipped to No.6 in the world rankings with seemingly no real answer in sight.
Beaten at home to India and South Africa in the last home summer, the Aussies had gone seven bilateral series without claiming so much as a draw.
Somehow, that team will now finish first in the round-robin stage of the World Cup if they beat South Africa on Saturday.
It’s enough to make for one of the great turnarounds in Australian cricket history.
“I think that Indian series win, probably the T20 series win, to be honest (was when I realised we could give the World Cup a shake),” Australian quick Pat Cummins said.
“At Bangalore, Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) hit a hundred and we won seemingly out of nowhere.
“It gave us a real confidence, the best side in the world, in their own conditions.
“It really felt like a special group, a couple of really special wins where we felt like we could win from anywhere.
“It’s pretty infectious when you have that feeling around the group. Luckily, we have held on to it.”Play VideoMaxwell smashes extraordinary ton
Australia won that Twenty20 series but found themselves down 2-0 against India in the five-match one-day series.
Since then though, they’ve lost just one match, beating India 3-2, Pakistan 5-0 and going through the World Cup fixture with just the single defeat.
“Everything has clicked, the batting, the bowling, our game plan,” Cummins said.
“Everyone being comfortable in their roles and being comfortable around each other. It takes time but everyone is in a really good place.”
The differences in Australia’s cricket are numerous and varied.
Throughout their losing streak, they averaged 37.67 for the opening wicket.
In the World Cup David Warner and Aaron Finch have been the tournament’s best, averaging 82.12.Carey, Khawaja shine before Starc thunderbolts
That’s also helped Australia make better use of their overs, after they were bowled in 11 of the 21 losses in that losing streak between January 2017 and March 2019.
Mitchell Starc’s form has also been crucial with the ball.
He played just 12 of the matches in the losing period, taking 20 wickets at 33.25. In the World Cup he’s taken 24 at just 15.54.
Stability has also been key. The Aussies cycled through 36 players in their barren run through form, fitness and workload management.
In the World Cup, they are contained to just 15 with their very best playing.
Important too has been Justin Langer and Finch’s resolve to stick to the more traditional batting game plan, which has suited well to the varied English wickets.
“We have come so far and we are playing the way we have talked about for a while that we wanted to play,” Cummins said.
June 25: Australia beat England by 64 runs
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord’s
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