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We let ourselves down today: Smith

UncategorizedWe let ourselves down today: Smith

It was a disappointing finish to a frustrating tournament for Australia but, after a 40-run loss to England in yet another rain-interrupted match, Steven Smith insisted there were no excuses for his side’s unsuccessful campaign.

After washouts against New Zealand and Bangladesh, Australia’s destiny was in their own hands in their final group match with a win ensuring they would progress to the semi-finals and, while late rain curtailed the match, by then England had comprehensively outplayed an Australian side which collapsed in the final overs with the bat and then wilted in the glare of a Ben Stokes and Eoin Morgan onslaught.Smith

Australia failed to capitalise on a decent start in which they added 136 runs for the loss of just one wicket but Smith and Aaron Finch were unable to convert half-centuries into big scores and Travis Head, who made a doughty 71, was left stranded as the middle- and lower-order crumbled around him.

“I thought we let ourselves down a little bit today,” said Smith. “We got ourselves in a pretty good position early with the bat, probably 2 for 150, or wherever we were there.

“We kept losing wickets through the middle, and someone in the top four probably needed to go on and make a hundred. We weren’t able to do that.

“We lost 5 for 15 at one point as well, which you can’t afford to do against an opposition like England.”

“I thought we started reasonably well with the ball. To get three early wickets was quite crucial, and then it seemed like there was a bit of a momentum shift after that rain delay.

“You know, Stokesy and Morgy came out and played very positively. We were off a bit with the way we were bowling. We gave them a lot of freebies, but they did play exceptionally well.”

Australia’s bowlers weren’t helped by lapses in the field, most notably when Morgan, on 12, was dropped by Matthew Wade after miscuing a pull off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood. It was a pivotal point in the innings – Morgan went on to make 73 and his 159-run partnership with Stokes broke the back of England’s successful chase.

“It certainly hurt,” said Smith. “After that, Morgy got going and played particularly well. So could have had them 4 for 30-odd or wherever we were there, and Jos [Buttler] in with a reasonably new ball, which he’s probably not used to that much. So, yeah, it probably hurt a little bit.”

Australia’s batsmen, in particular, were deprived of match time thanks to the previous two washouts but Smith insisted their preparation should have been sufficient.

“You say that we only had one hit, but that should be good enough for the players that we’ve got on our team,” Smith said. “You know, we’ve got some good players in our line-up. We just weren’t able to get those partnerships together today and get ourselves a score up over 300.”

Australia’s campaign has been carried out under a cloud of off-field uncertainty, with the Australian Cricketers’ Association and Cricket Australia at loggerheads over a new Memorandum of Understanding. The current MoU runs out at the end of June and there is a danger that, if a new deal isn’t struck, the players will, effectively, be unemployed. But Smith remains confident that Australia’s tour of Bangladesh will go ahead as scheduled in September and refused to use the ongoing dispute as an excuse for Australia’s early exit from the tournament.

“When you’re playing in a big tournament for your country, you need to step up and get the job done,” said Smith. “We weren’t able to do that on this occasion, unfortunately.

“We had some frustrating games throughout and just haven’t been able to find any momentum, I guess. And today, yeah, it was disappointing.”

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