Shane Watson has identified the hosts as Australia’s biggest challenge

Shane Watson has identified the hosts as Australia’s biggest challenge

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World Twenty20 in India, Shane Watson has identified the hosts as Australia’s biggest challenge

Allrounder Shane Watson has identified ICC World Twenty20 hosts India as Australia’s biggest threat ahead of next month’s tournament. India are set to be a formidable opponent in their own backyard, with the Aussies scheduled to take on the home side in their final group match in Mohali on March 27. Watson, who has extensive experience in India having played in all but one edition of the Indian Premier League, praised both India’s batting and bowling depth and sees MS Dhoni’s men as a major hurdle for Australia.

“I think India will be the toughest team because it’s in their home conditions,” Watson told cricket.com.au from Dubai, where he is playing in the inaugural Pakistan Super League. “They know their conditions better than anyone and have performed well in big events at home.

“India have a good all-round team; their batting has firepower all the way through, bowling-wise, their spinners are world-class and they have some good quicks.

“Ashish Nehra is bowling really well and (Jasprit) Bumrah has been a great find for them. They have a really well balanced team so I think they will be a big challenge.”

India have the wood over Australia in the shortest format recently, having won 3-0 away from home in last month’s KFC T20 INTL series.

A particular headache for the Australian selectors is how they plan to fit Watson, David Warner, Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja into their top-order, with all arguably at their best when opening the batting.

Watson has statistically fared much better opening the batting in T20s for Australia. He averages 35 with a strike-rate of 154 when opening the batting, compared to his average of 15 and strike-rate of 119 when he’s batted elsewhere.

However, the others have all made strong cases to take on the new ball in the World T20. Khawaja has forced his way into the squad through superb performances opening in the KFC Big Bash League, striking two tons and two half-centuries in four innings for champions Sydney Thunder.

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