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London (AFP) – Steve Waugh insists Australia’s World Cup defeat against title rivals India won’t derail the holders’ bid to retain the trophy.
Australia were beaten for the first time in this year’s World Cup as India cruised to a 36-run win at the Oval on Sunday.
Aaron Finch’s side were pummelled by India’s batsman and then struggled to launch a serious run-chase, leading some critics to suggest they aren’t up to the task of winning the tournament.
But former Australia captain Waugh, a two-time World Cup winner, is confident his country have enough strength in depth to make the necessary tweaks to get them back on track for a place in the semi-finals of the 10-team event.
“Australia won’t be too disappointed as they have time to dissect this loss, fine tune their process, tinker with batting orders and bowling options and manoeuvre things around before the semi-finals come around,” Waugh said.
“This World Cup is wide open right now with up to six teams believing they have a chance to lift the Cup at Lord’s.”
One of the few Australia batsmen to show signs of being able to match India’s fire-power was Glenn Maxwell, who hit five fours in his 14-ball innings of 28 before paying the price for one aggressive stroke too many.
The rest of the Australia line-up batted too slowly before India eased to victory with a flurry of late wickets as Finch’s side had to go for broke with the run-rate required reaching 11 an over.
But Maxwell backed Australia’s approach and, like Waugh, believes only minor changes are needed to allow them to match India and tournament favourites England.
“I don’t think we need to change anything and I don’t think we were that far off, we just need some tinkering here and here, a bit of luck going our way,” Maxwell said.
“On another day a couple would have cleared the fence or missed the fielders and we’d have been away.
“We were trying to keep up with the run rate but they bowled really well and fielded out of their skins.Their tactics were really good and the built pressure on us too quickly.”