It’s good, I won’t lie - Australia’s Pat Cummins hails Netherlands victory over Proteas

Australia's captain Pat Cummins speaks during a press conference at the M. Chinanaswamy Cricket Stadium in Bangalore

It was South Africa's first loss of the Cricket World Cup and prevented them from taking their record to a perfect three wins in three, and Australia’s Pat Cummins could not hide his joy when asked about the result. Picture: Sajjad Hussain/AFP

Published Oct 19, 2023

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Australia skipper Pat Cummins thanked the Netherlands on Thursday for throwing the five-time champions a shock Cricket World Cup lifeline with their surprise victory over South Africa.

"Yeah, I mean it's good, I won't lie. I think it just evens all the teams out really," said Cummins.

The Dutch stunned South Africa by 38 runs in Dharamsala on Tuesday.

It was South Africa's first loss of the tournament and prevented them from taking their record to a perfect three wins in three.

Tight battle for top four places

Instead they are only two points ahead of Australia in what is expected to be a tight battle for the top four places which will decide the semi-final line-up.

"They played really well," added Cummins whose team face Pakistan on Friday before taking on the Netherlands in New Delhi next Wednesday.

"I think what we're seeing in this tournament is 10 really strong sides. It's not sides that are just making up numbers.

"They've all qualified and they're all here because they've earned their spot. There's no easy games. Everything's pretty full on.”

On Friday, Australia renew their rivalry with Pakistan.

Australia defeated Sri Lanka last time out after starting the World Cup with two defeats to South Africa and India.

Pakistan, having seen off the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, then suffered a seven-wicket humbling by arch-rivals India.

"They (Pakistan) are a side that always seems to be right up there," said Cummins, whose team has defeated Pakistan in 16 of their last 20 meetings.

Testing conditions

In conditions similar to India, however, Australia lost 2-1 in Pakistan last year.

"They are pretty well structured, some really good quick bowlers who can do some damage, some spin bowlers that can bowl 20 of their overs plus.

"And then they've got Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam's always good and a couple of other batsmen that have scored a lot in ODIs lately.”

Cummins insisted that despite conceding opening stands of 108 against South Africa and 125 to Sri Lanka, he was not worried about his new-ball attack.

"At the moment, we look back at the last couple of games and haven't got the wickets, but there's probably been three chances in each of the first 10 overs that we couldn't get," he said.

In the loss to South Africa, Australian fielders dropped five catches. Against India, Mitchell Marsh spilled a chance when Virat Kohli was on just 12.

Had it been taken, India would have been struggling at 20-4 in pursuit of 200.

However, Kohli made the most of his reprieve to accumulate a match-winning 85.

Cummins also backed leg-spinner Adam Zampa to return to full fitness after suffering from back spasms. Zampa took 4-47 in the win over Sri Lanka.

"I think it's getting better each day so it shouldn't be any worse than the last game," said Cummins who added that opener Travis Head is likely to join the team soon after recovering from a hand injury.

AFP