England will be the team to beat in the coming years, says Australia legend Waugh

By Sports Desk November 16, 2022

England will be the team to beat in limited-overs cricket over the next couple of years, according to former Australia captain Steve Waugh.

Australia's old enemy won the T20 World Cup in Melbourne on Sunday, beating Pakistan in the final, having also secured the 50-over World Cup in 2019.

The host nation did not make it out of the Super 12 stage after failing to recover from a heavy opening defeat to New Zealand.

Speaking to Stats Perform at the Laureus Challenge 2022, presented by Sierra Space, Waugh said Australia's performance in the tournament had been disappointing and tipped England to face motivated opposition now they are on top of both formats of limited-overs cricket.

"It was our home World Cup, I guess the fans expected Australia to do well but they didn't make the semi-finals, which was disappointing," Waugh conceded. "They weren't at their best and in T20, winning, it's a very fine line. If you're not 100 per cent in the game, you're gonna lose the match. And so Australia probably didn't deserve to be in the semi-finals.

"England, I think, were the best team overall so they deserved to win it, [and] Pakistan put up a good show.

"But [for] England it's pretty exciting to win both the 50-over World Cup and now the 20-over World Cup... They've set a benchmark for themselves, every other side is going to be trying to beat them in the next couple of years."

Waugh played in 168 Test matches for Australia between 1985 and 2004, scoring 10,927 runs at an average of 51.06, as well as making 325 ODI appearances, with an average of 32.90.

Asked why he thought Australia struggled at the T20 World Cup, Waugh said: "I just think they didn't really click. The first game against New Zealand was a really bad result, they lost by 90 runs, and that put pressure on their run rate and almost threw them off balance all the way through.

"The captain [Aaron Finch] was a bit out of form. So maybe that was a bit unsettling in the team. But overall, they just weren't on their game. Their fielding wasn't up to scratch and they looked a bit sluggish."

It was England who took the trophy, though, with Ben Stokes hitting his first ever T20I half-century as his team beat Pakistan by five wickets in the final.

"I think it was an entertaining final [and] it could have gone either way," Waugh said. "But England had that man called Ben Stokes, who seems to perform in those pressure situations and has almost got a bit of a Midas touch in the big games."

Despite the hosts' struggles, Waugh still feels the event was a success, with big crowds turning up to games.

"The crowds were huge," he said. "One hundred thousand people saw India play Pakistan at the MCG... The people loved it.

"T20 cricket is a real social event. Young people go and watch it, have a good time. And it's exciting, they get a quick result. And they can see another game the next day."

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