Aussies eye back-to-back titles on home soil: Australia team preview
Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Best finish at tournament
Not much was expected of Australia ahead of last year's event, but Aaron Finch's side found form at the right time to claim their first T20 World Cup title.
The Aussies were actually thrashed by England midway through the Super 12 stage and had to win their final two matches - against Bangladesh and the West Indies - just to sneak into the knockout stages.
Matthew Wade proved the hero in the semi-final against Pakistan as he hit three consecutive sixes off Shaheen Afridi to clinch the victory, but it was a different story in the final against New Zealand.
David Warner and Mitch Marsh hit a half-century apiece as Australia chased down New Zealand’s competitive total of 172/4 with seven balls to spare as the celebrations began for the always powerful Aussies.
Results in the last 10 T20I games
(most recent first) N/R L L W W L L W L W
22 October: v New Zealand
25 October: v Group A winner
28 October: v England
31 October: v Group B runner-up
4 November: v Afghanistan
v New Zealand (October 22) - A fast start will be pivotal for Australia on home soil and what better way for the reigning champions to get their title defence under way than with a victory over their trans-Tasman rival.
The Kiwis will be no pushover though, given they have the likes of Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell in their batting line-up and the experience of Trent Boult and Tim Southee in their pace arsenal.
Look for Australia to utilise spinner Adam Zampa early to target a couple of breakthroughs, while it remains to be seen whether the likes of Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell will be used much with the ball.
With the batting prowess strong for both sides, expect plenty of runs to flow and the winner to be well-placed to qualify for the knockout stages of the event.
David Warner - With fellow veteran Aaron Finch going through a recent lean spell, it could be up to the dynamic left-hander to ensure the reigning champions get off to a strong start inside the Powerplay.
Warner was in fine form at last year's edition of the T20 World Cup as he helped himself to 289 runs at an average just under 50. But it's the opener's ability to score quickly that stands out, with Warner able to put opposition teams under pressure as soon as his innings commences.
It is very rare for Warner to score well and the Aussies to lose, so don't be surprised to see the tournament hosts ride his coat-tails for as long as they can this time around.
What they say
"We'll be mindful of not being too narrow minded in terms of our focus – what we've tried to do over the last eight to 10 months is to make sure everything we're doing in the T20 space ties back to the World Cup," Australia captain Aaron Finch said.
"For us, it's about making sure once we get there that we've had plenty of different combinations of teams that we can play because the last thing that you want is have an injury derail your whole campaign because you're pigeonholed into playing one style of cricket or one structure of team.
"There will be a little bit of mixing and matching but still with that one eye towards the World Cup to make sure we're still as rounded as we can be as a squad."
A few question marks may surround the make-up of Australia's best XI heading into this year's T20 World Cup, but don't be surprised to see the reigning champions click when the action matters.
Much of the mystery surrounds whether star batter Steve Smith will feature much for the Aussies on home soil, while the indifferent form of Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell, as well as the injury battles of Mitch Marsh and Marcus Stoinis, mean it hasn't been all plain sailing for the tournament hosts.
The good news for Australia is their bowling line-up looks well settled, in-form and ready to show why they are rated as one of the best groups of bowlers in the world.
Veteran duo Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood lead the way, but Test skipper Pat Cummins and vastly underrated spinner Adam Zampa are just as important and will all play pivotal roles during the four-week tournament.
Experienced opener David Warner can be relied upon to perform well on home soil, so the Aussies will be hoping one of their many classy all-rounders can step up and contribute with both bat and ball.
It could be Maxwell - or even Marsh or Stoinis - but the surprise packet could end up being new boy Tim David, who has already shown he can be one of the biggest hitters in the world.
There is certainly enough firepower in this Australia line-up for them to make it two T20 World Cup titles on the trot and the pressure of playing on home soil is unlikely to worry their star-studded squad.
THIS IS THE BIG TIME!
Feel the buzz in the stands and see the best teams in the world play on the biggest stage of all.