Fast bowler Pat Cummins says the T20 series win in India just four months ago instilled self belief in the struggling Australian team that it could defend its World Cup title in the United Kingdom. Australia have turned out to be the team to beat in this World Cup as they have already qualified for the semifinals with 14 points from eight games. The defending champions’ only loss in the tournament so far came against India. Struggling for a major part in ODI cricket for the last two years, having lost 17 out of 21 matches between September 2017 and February 2019, Australia had slipped to sixth in the ICC ODI rankings.

Cummins said the away series wins over India earlier this year, especially the T20 rubber, gave them confidence that they can defend their ODI World Cup crown. “I think that Indian series win, probably the T20 series win, to be honest,” Cummins said about the successful tour to India, which according to him started Australia’s revival. “At Bangalore, Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) hit a hundred and we won seemingly out of nowhere. It gave us real confidence, the best side in the world, in their own conditions.” Maxwell hit a century in the second T20I in Bangalore to power Australia to a 2-0 series win, after Cummins had hit the winning runs in a thrilling last-ball finish in Vishakhapatnam in the first game.

In the ODIs that followed, Australia came back from 0-2 down to win the next three matches and pocket the five-match series 3-2. “It’s pretty infectious when you have that feeling around the group. Luckily, we have held on to it,” Cummins said. Cummins, who was the leading wicket-taker in the ODI series against India with 14 scalps, said Australia have managed to carry on their form since then. “It really felt like a special group, a couple of really special wins where we felt like we could win from anywhere.”

Talking about Australia’s impressive World Cup campaign so far, Cummins said: “Everything has clicked, the batting, the bowling, our game plan. We have come so far and we are playing the way we have talked about for a while that we wanted to play.” Having already bagged a semifinal berth, Australia will round off the league campaign with a match against already-eliminated South Africa on Saturday here.