It was like he hadn't left - Finch praises Smith after unbeaten 91

By Sports Desk May 10, 2019

Steve Smith produced a performance that was "like he hadn't left", said Aaron Finch after the former Australia captain struck 91 not out against a New Zealand XI on Friday.

Smith and opener David Warner are back in the Australia fray having served their suspensions for the ball-tampering scandal that overshadowed their 2018 tour of South Africa.

The former hit 89 not out against a New Zealand XI on Wednesday and followed that up with another stunning performance against the same opposition, finding the boundary 10 times in a 108-ball knock.

Australia won the final match of their Brisbane training camp by 16 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, and Finch believes the experience of Smith and former vice-captain Warner will be a huge boost to their Cricket World Cup hopes.

"His [Smith] timing and class was back again," Finch said. "It was like he hadn't left. His drives down the ground on a really difficult wicket to time off the front foot was so impressive, just the amount of time he spent in the middle and how he went through the gears was very impressive.

"They [Smith and Warner] are two of the best players in the world which is valuable to have at your disposal. The boys have been brilliant. All the work off the field with the team has been great.

"It's an interesting time, no doubt, when they are coming back in but still a great opportunity for everyone to learn off them as well. They have so much experience and what they bring to the group is really valuable."

Smith and Warner are among six players that were part of Australia's 2015 World Cup-winning side who feature in the squad that will attempt to retain the title in England.

"I think it's a big advantage, just to know what it takes to win a World Cup and what it takes to manage your way through a campaign which can be difficult," Finch added.

"You have to be at your best at the business end but you can't afford to let anything slip at the start. Six guys who have been there and done that will give a lot of experience to the others of what to expect, what to feel walking out there because it is different.

"When you talk so much about it, when it finally happens it's a relief to be looking forward. The fact everyone is together and getting on great, the boys are pumped to ramp up the preparations. It really is the time of your life, a World Cup, so that will be awesome."

Australia begin their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on June 1.

Related items

  • Triple H honours England's World Cup winners with WWE title belt - but who gets to keep it? Triple H honours England's World Cup winners with WWE title belt - but who gets to keep it?

    England's triumphant squad have received plenty of praise since lifting the Cricket World Cup - and now they have been honoured with a one-of-a-kind championship belt from an unlikely fan.

    As a 14-time champion, WWE superstar Triple H knows a thing or two about winning in big situations. And the man with a finishing move called the 'Pedigree' was certainly impressed with the standards shown by Eoin Morgan's side against New Zealand on Sunday, when the tournament hosts prevailed following a dramatic Super Over at the home of cricket.

    The wrestler, whose real name is Paul Levesque, tweeted out a message of congratulations to the new ODI champions, along with a picture of a customised world heavyweight championship belt made to mark their success.

    "An incredible tournament, an awe-inspiring final, and a team of worthy champions. Congratulations to England Cricket for winning the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019! This custom WWE Championship is YOURS!" Triple H wrote.

    The unique strap includes the words "World Cup champions", with the England and Wales Cricket Board's official logo appearing twice, placed either side of the central WWE badge.

    However, the generous gift to mark England's achievement does create a problem - who gets to keep it?

    Jos Buttler, who was in partnership with Ben Stokes in the middle during England's Super Over, had an on-topic suggestion to decide the owner, tweeting: "Royal rumble lads last man standing keeps the belt?" 

    If Buttler's idea comes to fruition, Morgan and his team-mates would have to forget about boundary ropes and focus on the top rope instead. Perhaps Triple H could make an appearance during the upcoming Ashes series against Australia to crown England's new wrestling champion, too.

    The Game at a game of cricket? We can only hope...

  • England captain Morgan to lead Dublin in Euro T20 Slam England captain Morgan to lead Dublin in Euro T20 Slam

    England's Cricket World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan will play for the Dublin Chiefs in the inaugural Euro T20 Slam.

    Ireland-born Morgan was on Friday drafted as Dublin's 'icon player' and will lead the side in the first continent-based T20 league.

    The Chiefs also pulled off the big signing of Babar Azam, the top-ranked batsman in the world in the shortest format, and his Pakistan team-mate Mohammad Amir.

    Afghanistan's new captain Rashid Khan was picked up by the Rotterdam Rhinos at the draft in London.

    Vastly experienced duo Imran Tahir and Shane Watson will be team-mates for the Amsterdam Knights.

    All-rounders Shahid Afridi and JP Duminy will represent Belfast Titans, while Glasgow Giants snared Brendon McCullum and Dale Steyn.

    The six-team competition runs from August 30 until September 22.

  • England's Cricket World Cup star Stokes nominated for New Zealander of the Year award England's Cricket World Cup star Stokes nominated for New Zealander of the Year award

    England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award, less than a week after dashing the Black Caps' Cricket World Cup dreams.

    Stokes was instrumental in England's thrilling triumph at Lord's on Sunday, scoring an unbeaten 84 to force a Super Over and then making eight off three balls in the additional six deliveries as Eoin Morgan's side won an all-time classic on boundary count.

    In an incident-packed innings, Stokes was caught by Trent Boult in the deep during the penultimate over only for the fielder to step on the rope with the ball in hand, and in the final over England's number five dived and accidentally diverted Martin Guptill's throw to the boundary with his bat, resulting in another crucial six runs.

    However, despite playing a pivotal role in beating the Black Caps, Stokes, who was born in Christchurch and moved to England at the age of 12, has still received votes for the New Zealander of the Year award.

    "We also received nominations for England's hero Ben Stokes," chief judge Cameron Bennett said in quotes published on the New Zealand Herald's website.

    "He might not have been playing for the Black Caps but, having been born in Christchurch, where his parents now live, and with Maori ancestry, there's clearly a few Kiwis about who think we can still claim him."

    Black Caps captain Kane Williamson - voted player of the tournament at the World Cup - is also up for the award, along with Abdul Aziz, who chased away a gunman after 51 people were killed in a terror attack on two Christchurch mosques.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.