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Smith gobsmacked by T20 award

Wide World of Sports logo Wide World of Sports 9/11/2019 WWOS staff
Kane Richardson, Steve Smith posing for the camera: Steve Smith's name is called as Player of the Series © Getty Steve Smith's name is called as Player of the Series

Steve Smith was just as surprised as fans when he was given a special honour after Australia's 2-0 T20 series victory against Pakistan.

Speaking after the win, Smith was stunned to have earned the Player of the Series award with just one knock at the crease.

"It was nice to contribute in this series," he said

"I had only one bat in three games so I'm surprised to be up here.

"The bowlers did a terrific job throughout the series and the Sri Lanka series to be fair and the boys up the top have done an amazing job again tonight as well so it's been good all round."

https://twitter.com/cricketcomau/status/1192766208841375744

Smith contributed 80 runs off 51 balls in his one batting effort, with a strike rate of 158.86, making him the fourth-highest run-scorer overall

But there was more to his Canberra knock than just what the runs on the scoreboard can show. His innings was a masterclass of different batting strokes, leaving cricket fans simply in awe of his form.

Smith's incredible batting display, backed up by fine top order batting from Aaron Finch and David Warner has been a welcome sight for the Australian team, and it has their coach Justin Langer believing they can win the next T20 World Cup.

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Having transformed his side's white-ball fortunes, Langer says Australia are "crystal clear" on their plans to win next year's tournament.

Friday's dominant 10-wicket victory over Pakistan in Perth handed Australia a 2-0 series win and ensured they will finish the year unbeaten in T20 cricket.

Finch's men have now won eight straight T20 internationals - their best winning streak since 2010 and a promising sign that they're on track for redemption after being bundled out of the 2016 World Cup in the group stage.

Having also recently dispatched of Sri Lanka in a 3-0 series whitewash, Australia's next T20 assignment is in South Africa in February.

Langer, who led the Perth Scorchers to three Big Bash titles before becoming national coach, intends to stick with his winning formula of five specialist bowlers and six batsmen through to Australia hosting the World Cup next October.

"We've just got to make sure the boys play their roles really well," Langer said.

"Twelve months is a long way away. This time twelve months ago, we were the worst team in the world.

"But it's really good we're playing good cricket. We've learned a lot about planning and preparation. We've learned the value of that through the World Cup 50-over competition.

"The more we can keep these guys together, the better."

T20 cricket has taken rare precedence in Australia's schedule ahead of the World Cup, and Langer said the greater continuity was already paying significant dividends.

"The schedule this year allows us to do it as well. In the past it's been very difficult to manage players through playing all forms of the game," Langer said.

"We understand the value of focusing on something, whether it's short-term or long-term, and we'll continue to do that."

- with AAP

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