Australian cricket coach Justin Langer is forecasting more thrilling finishes for the remainder of the T20 World Cup.
The Aussies began their World Cup campaign with a gritty, hard-earned win against South Africa in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night (AEDT).
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Despite Australia only needing 119 runs to win, the match went down to the final over, when Marcus Stoinis hit two boundaries to get the side home.
Langer admitted that while he was on the edge of his seat right until the end, the tight, low-scoring nature of the contest didn’t come as a surprise.
“It’s going to be a really tough tournament. We’ve got a really tough draw,” Langer told reporters on Sunday.
“There’s going to be some very, very close games I think. It’s usually what happens on these sort of wickets.
“The conditions are going to be conducive to tight games.
“I tend to bite my fingernails and there were a few tight moments yesterday but I’ve got a lot faith in this team.”
Cricket pundits predicted Langer would select two spinners in the 11 to face South Africa but the coach shocked one and all when he chose to omit Ashton Agar from the side.
In the last two years, the crafty spinner has taken more T20I wickets for Australia than any other player but Langer chose to leave him out of the side so there would be room for three pace bowlers.
The coach said he didn’t make the decision to overlook Agar lightly.
“I can’t emphasise enough how tough it was,” Langer said.
“We just decided to go for the extra quick instead of the extra spin.
“With all the analysis we’d done on South Africa, we thought that was the best way to win the game.”
Langer confirmed Agar and quick Kane Richardson were in good spirits despite being snubbed from the side.
“They were up and about yesterday with a smile on their faces and running around for the team,” he said.
“That’s what we hope all the boys will do depending on what the selection is per game.”
Langer said he had full confidence in opening batters Aaron Finch and David Warner despite another lukewarm showing.
Warner contributed only 14 runs to Australia’s total but showed signs of his blistering best in the short stint at the crease, while Finch, who underwent knee surgery in August, was dismissed without scoring.
“There were some really good signs from David Warner,” Langer said.
“I thought Finchy’s captaincy was brilliant yesterday … he had knee surgery, it might take a little bit of time for him to get moving. He’s working hard in the nets with his preparation.
“(Warner and Finch) are a world-class opening partnership and I honestly believe when those two get going, that’s going to set us up for real success in this tournament.”