A number of Australia’s stars recently took on the world’s best in the shortest format of the game and showed that competition will be hot for spots in their T20 International side in the coming years.
As many as 19 Australian players were enlisted to participate in the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), widely considered the leading domestic T20 competition in the world. The tournament was held in the UAE from September-November after being moved from its usual March-May slot in India because of COVID-19.
Mumbai Indians won their fifth IPL title in eight years, the most of any team in the 13-season history of the event. Aussie Nathan Coulter-Nile was part of Mumbai’s winning XI and made an important contribution with 2/29 in the final. It was one of seven appearances he made throughout the season. James Pattinson was another solid contributor for Mumbai with 11 wickets in 10 appearances.
On the other side in the decider was all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, who flourished for the Ricky Ponting-coached Delhi Capitals. Stoinis netted 352 runs from 17 matches and led all Aussies with 13 wickets. Only Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner made more runs among the Australians and was the third-most prolific in the competition, behind Indian stars KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan. Warner tallied 548 runs with four half-centuries in 16 matches for the Sunrisers, coached by Trevor Bayliss.
Aussie champion Steve Smith had a mixed season as captain of the Rajasthan Royals, guided by Australian men’s assistant coach Andrew McDonald. Smith started well but faded and finished with 311 runs and three half-centuries from 14 matches. The Royals came last in the eight-team competition.
Another Aussie who showed glimpses of his best but didn’t fully fire was national white-ball skipper Aaron Finch, who made 268 runs in 12 matches for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, coached by countryman Simon Katich. Veteran Shane Watson played some fine cricket for the Chennai Super Kings before announcing his retirement from all forms of the game, capping an outstanding career with 299 runs in 11 outings. The explosive Glenn Maxwell was unable to have a major impact with bat or ball for Kings XI Punjab, with 108 runs and three wickets in 13 games.
Aside from Stoinis and Pattinson, Pat Cummins also excelled with the ball, snaring 12 in 14 matches for Kolkata Knight Riders, including best figures of 4/34, and also blasted some handy lower-order runs, including one half-century.
Other Australians to feature included young wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Phillippe, who gained valuable exposure with five outings for Royal Challengers Bangalore under Warner. National team regulars Adam Zampa (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Alex Carey (Delhi Capitals) and Josh Hazlewood (Chennai Super Kings) played three matches each, as did emerging paceman Daniel Sams (Delhi Capitals). Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals) and Chris Green (Kolkata Knight Riders) each played one match.
Many of the Australian and Indian stars from the IPL will be on show when the countries face off in a three-match T20Il series from 4-8 December as part of India’s all-format tour of Australia. Following that is the highly anticipated 2020/21 edition of the Big Bash League, which commences on 10 December.
In August this year, ICC announced the postponement of the Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia to 2022. India will host the 2021 edition as planned.
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