NEW DELHI: Veteran Australia opener Usman Khawaja is certain that his team’s chances of winning the T20 World Cup for the second time since 2021 won’t be hindered by a shocking loss to Afghanistan.
Afghanistan will need to overcome unlikely circumstances in order to defeat Australia in net run-rate, even if they lose to India in their final Super 8s encounter on Monday at Gros Islet.
“If Australia beats India and makes it to the semi-final, I think definitely, I think they can win. I think we’ve just got to get to the semi-final,” Khawaja told PTI Videos in an interview ahead of Australia’s last Super 8s match against India.
He talked about how Australia could improve in the elimination phases.
“I think we’ve shown over the years that we’re a great knockout team. As soon as there’s a knockout situation, more times than not we’ve won, but we’ve just got to get there.”
Usman Khawaja is understandably motivated for the Australian squad to bid his opening partner a suitable farewell with a T20 World Cup victory, having had the greatest seat at the other end of the 22-yard line, seeing David Warner in action.
Khawaja prefers to think that Warner’s retirement from international cricket will come only after Australia’s campaign in the ongoing T20 World Cup ends-that is, after winning the coveted final.
“As a friend, I’d love to see him (Warner) finish on a high. He’s been playing some really good cricket. It’s been really nice to see. You can tell he’s just enjoying being out there. He’s playing pretty relaxed. So he should. Yeah, it would be good to see,” Khawaja said.
Marsh’s leadership abilities were commended by Khawaja, who also said that his captaincy reflects the kind of guy he is.
“I think his captaincy is just him. It’s him as a person. He doesn’t try to be anything that he’s not. He’s relaxed. He goes out and plays the game, takes the game on, leads from the front, leads by his actions. So, I’ve really enjoyed watching his captaincy,” he said.
The 37-year-old batsman, who was born in Pakistan and has played 73 Test matches for the “Baggy Greens,” added that no side is unbeatable but conceded that defeating India will be difficult.
“I mean, India’s always a threat. They have batters left, right and centre. They have great bowlers. They have excellent spinners. They have literally all bases covered. They always have. I wouldn’t go out and say India’s so far ahead, a better team than everyone else, because they’re not.
“So I think on any day, any team can beat anyone, particularly in T20 cricket,” he observed.
Regarding Australia’s upcoming Ashes series at home in 2025 and against India, Khawaja described them as the ultimate cricket matches.
“It’s always tough to beat India in India. But in the last couple of series, India has beaten Australia in Australia, which is never nice for an Australian. So, yeah, we’ve got a lot to play for. It’s a big series. To me, England and India are the two biggest series,” he exclaimed. PTI HN
Khawaja concluded by considering the longevity of Test cricket‘s appeal in Australia as well as Cricket Australia‘s recent golden ticket plan.
“The baggy green is still the pinnacle of Australian cricket. I think we’re very lucky in Australia. I still think we get paid really well to play Test cricket. It’s not the same across the world. So, it’s a little bit different for us. We don’t have to try as hard. Because we have a long-standing tradition. And kids that grow up these days still want to get a baggy green,” he noted.