Australia’s Usman Khawaja pleased to take England scalp ahead of The World Cup
May 26 (CRICKETNMORE) - Usman Khawaja admits claiming the scalp of the world’s No.1 side on the eve of the World Cup is a real confidence booster for Australia. Australia downed England by 12 runs on Saturday at the Hampshire Bowl in their first official warm-up game for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.
That was England’s first ODI defeat of the summer after completing a 4-0 whitewash of Pakistan earlier this month.
And Australia, the defending world champions in this format, appear to be hitting top form at just the right time.
“It is always nice to win, no matter what game you play. Especially against England being the world No.1 side,” said Khawaja
“They had a couple of players out today obviously but they are still a very strong team and world No.1 for a reason.
“It is a good confidence booster for us.
“We are doing a lot of things right, this is a long tournament so hopefully we can keep doing it for as long as possible.
“We have been playing some really good cricket over the last two or three months in one day cricket and I think the momentum has turned.”
This time last year Australia were handed a 5-0 ODI series whitewash in England.
But of late they have turned the corner with series wins in both India and Pakistan already secured this year.
“We have been training really hard and doing all the right things behind the scenes for a while now,” added Khawaja.
“We should have beaten India that first series at home, we got really close so we knew we were headed the right way.
“Sometimes you need to get results to show people and I guess to show ourselves. Winning that series in India was massive, we got that winning feeling again and got the habit.”
The key to the win on Saturday was the returning Steve Smith’s consummate century from No.4.
Khawaja came in at No.5 and made 31 but has spent the majority of his time in this ODI side opening or batting at No.3
But Khawaja doesn’t mind where he bats, particularly with Smith and David Warner back and in form.
“Smithy today batted beautifully today and set that game up for us,” added Khawaja.
“It’s tough to be better than he was, but look he has been playing beautifully, so consistent.
“Yes they have been warm-up games, but he has been hungry for runs like the Steve Smith we have always known and it’s great to see him out there scoring runs. He is a great guy to have around.
“I don’t know where I am going to bat. I think we are pretty good in that regard, we have shuffled around a fair bit. I came in a lot lower than I usually do today. But all the guys are good at adapting to one day cricket.
“Which is one of our strengths. I am sure they will figure that out sooner rather than later. There is one more game and then the first game. All the guys are in a really good spot to be honest. The batsmen are scoring runs, the bowlers are bowling beautifully, you cannot ask for much more.”