Fox Cricket predictions, Steve Smith, Aaron Finch

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Australia kicks off their T20 World Cup title defence on Saturday against New Zealand at the SCG, and Fox Sports’ cricket experts are in unanimous agreement about Steve Smith.

There’s no room for him in Australia’s starting XI.

In fact, Allan Border, Brad Haddin, Kerry O’Keefe, Isa Guha and Mel Jones all agree on the players that will line-up in Sydney, although there is some debate about the order.

It means Tim David, unsurprisingly, gets the nod from the experts for a spot in Australia’s middle-order.

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From the core XI that claimed Australia’s maiden men’s T20 World Cup crown in the UAE last year, the explosive David in for the more methodical Smith is the only change.

All five experts are predicting the same top order, choosing to stick fat with captain Aaron Finch, who was in all sorts at the start of the season, but made a timely 76 against India on Monday.

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They’ve picked him to open with reigning player of the tournament David Warner opening, and 2021 final man of the match Mitchell Marsh coming in at first drop.

They also agree on the composition of the middle order, and while the majority of experts are on the same page as to its order, they weren’t completely aligned.

Haddin, O’Keefe and Jones have Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, new sensation Tim David and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade coming in at four, five, six and seven respectively. But while Guha agrees with Maxwell and Stoinis being installed as second and third drop, she has switched Wade and David.

Border also has Maxwell and Wade at four and seven respectively, but he has swapped Stoinis and David, pushing the former Singapore international further up the order to five.

Maxwell has been another name struggling for form before the tournament, but none of the experts were willing to take a risk and leave him out, such is the threat he still carries.

As for the bowling attack, all five experts predict pace trio Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood to be accompanied by spinner Adam Zampa.

FOX CRICKET EXPERTS PREDICTED AUSTRALIAN WORLD CUP XIS

Allan Border

Warner

Finch

Marsh

Maxwell

David

Stoinis

Wade

Zampa

Starc

Cummins

Hazlewood

Brad Haddin

Warner

Finch

Marsh

Maxwell

Stoinis

David

Wade

Hazlewood

Starc

Cummins

Zampa

Kerry O’Keefe

Finch

Warner

Marsh

Maxwell

Stoinis

David

Wade

Cummins

Starc

Zampa

Hazlewood

Isa Guha

Finch

Warner

Marsh

Maxwell

Stoinis

Wade

David

Cummins

Starc

Zampa

Hazlewood

Mel Jones

Finch

Warner

Marsh

Maxwell

Stoinis

David

Wade

Cummins

Starc

Zampa

Hazlewood

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