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Australian T20 side "best yet"

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Australia have never been better placed to win a maiden Twenty20 World Cup, according to star allrounder Shane Watson.

Watson has been part of four squads that have failed to lift the only piece of major cricket silverware to elude Australia.

The most recent attempt came in 2012, when Watson was player of the tournament but Australia fell at the semi-final stage against eventual winners West Indies.

Cricket Australia has since appointed Darren Lehmann, who coached the Deccan Chargers and Brisbane Heat to Indian Premier League (IPL) and Big Bash League titles respectively.

And with CA paying more and more attention to the shortest format, finally the clean-striking stars are aligning for Australia’s T20 team.

“This is the best squad we’ve ever assembled in Twenty20 cricket,” said Watson, twice crowned player of the series in the IPL.

“We’ve got the most balanced side and balanced (national T20) squad I’ve ever been involved in.

“We really do have firepower in our batting order, all the way down to No.10.

“We’ve got high-quality opening bowlers, death bowlers and spinners.

“We have versatility. In all conditions, against any opposition we can match up really well.

“Twenty20 cricket is fickle, but if you have a lot of match-winners in your team you’ve got more of a chance of it being someone’s day.”

Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign starts on March 23 against Pakistan in Bangladesh.

The squad’s clash with South Africa on Sunday in Port Elizabeth was washed out, and wet weather is set to impact the rest of the three-match series.

Rain has been lashing Durban and Centurion, venues for the games at 3am AEDT on Thursday and 3am AEDT on Saturday respectively.

Watson admitted match practice was important for the squad.

“The more cricket you play as a group, the better prepared you are going to be heading into such a big tournament,” he said.

But the 32-year-old said even if the entire T20 series against the Proteas is washed out, it won’t be a significant blow to Australia’s chances in Bangladesh.

“It certainly won’t affect our World Cup preparation too much,” he said.

“We’ve got a couple of practice matches in Bangladesh.

“If we do have a week off it’ll actually be more a chance to freshen bodies up and really make sure we’re ready to go.”

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