South Africa v Australia, 2nd T20, Johannesburg March 6, 2016

Middle order a 'great role' - Warner

ESPNcricinfo staff
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'Middle order is a great role for me' - Warner

David Warner is excited with his new role in the middle order of Australia's T20 side, which has been handed to him ahead of the World T20 in India.

Before this series against South Africa he had only ever opened in T20Is, but after batting at No. 3 in the opening match in Durban he compiled a thunderous 40-ball 77 in Johannesburg at No. 4 - part of a record stand of 161 with Glenn Maxwell - to lead Australia's recovery and carry them much of the way towards their highest successful T20 chase.

Warner's shift to the middle order came about after discussions with the team management - captain Steven Smith, coach Darren Lehmann and the selectors - about the best way to utilise players successful in the recent Big Bash and with an eye on tactics to combat spin bowling.

That latter factor was on display at the Wanderers as Warner helped repel Imran Tahir, who has had a telling role in South Africa's recent white-ball success, as he went for 47 in four overs after claiming 3 for 21 in Durban.

"The fortunate thing for us was that I was in and we had a left-hand, right-hand combination, that's what we try and do when you have a spinner who spins it away from the right-hander," Warner said. "We've only got myself and Ussie [Usman Khawaja] and when he's in the team he's at the top and I'm in the middle.

"It's a great role for me to play and it was my role to try and take him on today, he bowled a couple of wrong 'uns and I managed to get under them. Then he bowled back-of-a-length to us both which was quite hard to hit so we had to decide where we would score and that was to target straight. The conditions didn't suit him as much today."

There is plenty of competition for top-order batting positions in Australia's T20 side. Khawaja and Aaron Finch opened in the first match of this series while Shane Watson returned in place of Khawaja in Johannesburg.

"We looked at the way the boys were playing in the Big Bash and ways to get people in the team," Warner said. "Talking to Steve and Boof [Lehmann], and what the selectors felt, the key component was to have those three at the top with me and Steve in the middle. I'm comfortable with that if that's what Steve wants."

The response from Warner and Maxwell in Johannesburg enabled Australia to successfully chase a target over 160 for just the second time in T20Is - and a first 200-plus success was timely with the World T20 challenge closing in, where Warner believes scores could be similar to what were on show at the Wanderers.

"Our confidence will always be high," Warner said. "Our first two games in India are at small grounds where you'll have to chase well and if you bat first 200 might not be enough."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Navneet Nowal on March 8, 2016, 13:56 GMT

    plausibly the best sequence of batting and team selection would be in order as - Watson

  • bGopinathanB.E on March 8, 2016, 13:29 GMT

    Its No matter where Warner play's either at top or at the Tailend, all he need to do is just concentrate his game with his big mouth shut. That will help OZ to win more matches. No matter who the captain may be, smith is not going to make difference as a batsman in this format.

  • ziddu on March 8, 2016, 8:24 GMT

    Normally openers are reluctant to go down the order. It is selfless to see Warner do that.

  • Philthysledger on March 8, 2016, 1:51 GMT

    Finch, Khawaja, Warner, Smith, Maxwell, Faulkner, Watson/Marsh, Neville, Agar/Coulter-Nile, Hastings/Tye, Hazlewood.

    Solid batting down to No 10 but definitely missing Starc & Cummins for pure pace!

  • izzidole on March 8, 2016, 1:35 GMT

    Warner should bat at No.4 but I am not sure whether Smith should bat at No.3 as he was struggling to score runs by trying to hit the ball too hard and almost every stroke he played was mistimed before he was caught for a mistimed stroke near the boundary. Opening the batting Watson was struggling to score quick runs and as an allrounder didn't bowl either. If he doesn't contribute with the bat or the ball then Khawaja who is in prolific form should replace him. I reckon the final game in this series starting on wednesday will decide the make up of the team for the T20 world cup in India and help to boost the confidence of the winning side. The team for the final game against South Africa should read Watson, Finch, Smith, Warner, Maxwell, Marsh, Faulkner, Coulter Nile, Hastings ,Agar/Zampa and Nevill. There should be a batting change with Faulkner coming ahead of Marsh at No.6 since Faulkner has already proved that he is one of the finest allrounders in limited overs cricket.

  • DylanBrah on March 8, 2016, 0:12 GMT

    Australia's problem is not the batting order, but the bowling. Too many injuries.. Starc especially is a major blow.

  • dunger.bob on March 7, 2016, 23:09 GMT

    @ TheBatsmansHolding: Re our bowling - Thanks for pointing that out. We all thought it was perfect :) .. seriously though, what can we do? We can't just pop a couple of world class spinners into the microwave and have them ready in time for the WC. Then there's the injury carnage amongst our fast bowlers to contend with. Our bowling is what it is and it's too late for too many changes anyway. We pretty much have the best available so we'll just have to go with them. .. It would have been a tough choice between Boyce and Zampa I feel. Zampa probably got the nod because of his batting (and his really cool last name). Agar is a pretty good cricketer. He's been dismissed summarily by everyone it seems but he's better than that. I'm not saying he's a world beater, but he's 'handy' at the very least. .. ps Eng. is a real dark horse as well. What chance an Oz/Eng final? .. 1000-1 I'd say lol.

  • GROUCHO_MARX on March 7, 2016, 18:41 GMT

    Why all this criticism of De Kock? You can not expect for de Kock to stand up all de time.

  • vrn59 on March 7, 2016, 17:48 GMT

    Aus T20 XI: Finch, Watson, Khawaja, Warner, Smith, Maxwell, Faulkner, Nevill, Hazlewood, Tait, Lyon

  • thebatsmansHoldingthebowlersWilley on March 7, 2016, 17:46 GMT

    Seriously though, he does need to sort that 'tash out. It looks rubbish

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