T20 World Cup: Lee expects Australia to win their first T20I title

10/21/2021
 Former Australia pacer Brett Lee is expecting Australia to go all the way and win the ICC men's T20 World Cup in the UAE. He added that the Australians will be hungry to win the trophy as T20I is a format where Australia hasn't won an ICC trophy yet. Australia's best result across all men's T20 World Cups has been runners-up finish in the 2010 edition in the West Indies, losing to England in the final.

"For me, the expectation is that Australia will go and win the tournament. I know they might be high expectations but if you don't go and set the bar very high, you are not going to succeed. This is the one format of the game Australia's men have not succeeded in at an ICC tournament and we Australians are hungry for it," wrote Lee in his column for the ICC on Thursday.

"We have not had a lot of success in this format - it is time we changed it and we do have a side that can take it all the way. It obviously won't be easy, especially when you look at how strong teams like England, India and New Zealand are," added Lee.

Lee pointed out that opener David Warner will be the key to Australia's chances in the tournament. Warner, of late, has been out of form and was dropped from playing eleven of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second half of IPL 2021 after scoring 0 and 2. In the warm-up games, Warner was dismissed for 0 and 1 against New Zealand and India respectively.

"But this Australian side is loaded with talent and for me, the key is David Warner. I would like to say he is saving the runs for the games that count after his IPL form! He was really harshly dealt with there and it may have knocked some confidence out of him but he thrives on the big stage. Everything should be rosy for him here, class is permanent."

Lee also signalled left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc to do well in the tournament. "I will also put a lot of weight behind Mitchell Starc. There has been some debate in the last year about Starc being past his best but he would be in my team every single time, Josh Hazlewood has had a good IPL and Pat Cummins is a superstar. He is the David Beckham of the team, whatever he touches turns to gold!"

Talking about South Africa, Australia's opponents in their first match of the Super 12 stage on Saturday, Lee quipped that the Proteas have players who can take the game away in four or five overs. "Players come and go, greats come and go. But when you play against a nation like South Africa, the respect is always there. We know they have some match-winners and that is where the T20 game will suit them. They have guys who can take the game away within four or five overs and it will be a real test."

"I think South Africa are closer to the Australian culture than any other nation, in terms of sport. New Zealand are obviously closer geographically but South Africans are abrasive on the sports field. They are always in your face and I'love that, it's great. It is also why they have been so successful in all formats. I know they will give Australia a red-hot crack."

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