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Finch confident of Maxwell fitness for South Africa clash

Finch confident of Maxwell fitness for South Africa clash
Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup - New Zealand v Australia - Lord's, London, Britain - June 29, 2019 Australia's Glenn Maxwell attempts a catch Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley -
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MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Australia captain Aaron Finch says it will be up to Glenn Maxwell whether he plays in Saturday’s Cricket World Cup clash with South Africa after the all-rounder was struck on the forearm during a horror net session for the side.

Shaun Marsh was put out of the tournament on Thursday by a short delivery from team mate Pat Cummins which hit him on the wrist, and shortly afterwards Maxwell was sent to hospital by a blow from seamer Mitchell Starc.

“He (Maxwell) seems pretty good. He said he’s been able to hold the bat no problem, it will just be a case of how he feels,” Finch told reporters.

“At the end of the day, I think we will leave that call up to him, if he feels confident enough to get out there and do the job.

“All in all, he’s a lot better than Shaun, obviously.”

Finch says the team have rallied around to support Marsh, who has been replaced in the squad by batsman Peter Handscomb.

He was unfortunate to miss out on the World Cup after hitting a purple patch of form in the lead-up to the tournament.

“Shaun was obviously very disappointed. He is still in surgery at the moment, so we just wish him a speedy recovery. I think it hit the boys pretty hard,” Finch said.

If Maxwell is not fit to face South Africa, Handscomb is likely to be drafted straight into the team.

“He will be 100 percent ready to go,” Finch said. “He was really stiff to miss out in the first place on the World Cup squad and every opportunity he’s had recently with bat in hand, in the field, he’s nailed.”

Victory for Australia would mean they topped the table and set up a semi-final against New Zealand, avoiding two of the pre-tournament favourites in India and England.

TURNAROUND

It is a stunning reversal in fortunes for a side who had lost 20 of their previous 24 one-day international matches up to March this year.

“I think what’s changed for us is our ability to win the key moments in games,” Finch said. “The ability for somebody under any circumstances to put their hand up and play a key role to help win a game for Australia.

“That’s not saying that wasn’t happening. It was probably just guys would get the team into a position to win a game and then we wouldn’t grab that key opportunity.

“So I think for me it’s been about having a bit more experience around the group and guys who have been in World Cups, in tight series, in high-pressure environments, where they have got the job done before.”

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond)

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