It was a entertaining trans-tasmania final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Both sides, New Zealand and Australia got their ticket to the final after heroics from Neesham and Wade respectively that comforted their sides through to victory. Australia in the final, not too convincing with the ball but were with the bat and that was enough for them to bag their first ever ICC T20 World Cup trophy.
NOT CONVINCING, BUT AUSTRALIA IN A TENSE CHASE GOT OVER THE LINE : Australia in season opener were up against South Africa, on a hot afternoon in Abu Dhabi the Aussies were out to field. It was a high quality bowling performance on display by the Aussies that helped them restrict South Africa for a low total of 118. Australia in reply failed upfront and Steve Smith’s run a ball 35 helped the side not collapse and gain some control, it was down to the final over where Wade and Stoinis got Australia over the line with 2 balls to spare. It was a real tense chase towards the end but was a great confidence booster for Aussies to have come victorious in a tense chase against a high quality South African bowling attack.
A COMPLETE TEAM PERFORMANCE : Australia next met Sri Lanka and again opt to chase. Cummins had a wicket upfront but the Lankan batters got going and were attacking at a healthy rate, Zampa got the much wanted breakthrough wicket and Starc from the other end striked, both soon had a couple each to their name and broke the back of Lankan batting. Australia after having wickets in quick succession didn’t let the game slip as from 78-1 in 10 over smartly restricted Sri Lanka to 154-6 in 20. Aussies were off to an absolutely flyer with the bat and it was Hasaranga who got the breakthrough wicket with 70 on board in 6.5 overs as Finch’s fiery 37 saw curtains. Australia had complete control as Warner found his mojo and drilled Lankan bowlers to the fence. Stoinis and Smith remained unbeaten and in 17 overs chased down the required to win back-to-back games.
AUSTRALIA’S NIGHTMARE AGAINST POMS : Australia opt for plan B, Mitchell Marsh was benched and Agar was in the XI. Australia were put to bat first and English quicks were all over Australian top order in the powerplay as Warner, Smith and Maxwell were back in the shed. First ball after powerplay and Stoinis departed, Wade and Finch stitched a defensive partnership before Wade looking to accelerate walked back. Agar then with Finch stitched a vital partnership but was next to depart. Cummins and Starc with some real powerful blows got Australia to 125 with something to defend. England in reply smocked Australia, Poms lost their first wicket with 66 on board in just 6.2 overs, Malan departed early but it was a Jos Buttler special that blew Australia, 71*(32). Bairstow unbeaten on 13 and Buttler on 71 got England to chase down 125 in just 11.4 overs. Contrasts in batting display and a tactically poor change to drop Mitchell Marsh got a lot of criticism coming Australia’s way.
AUSTRALIA AT THEIR ABSOLUTE BEST : Australia had a lot to deal after their defeat against England, there was a lot happening on the outside, but for the team it was to get their best game on display. Australia back to Plan A, Marsh featured in the XI and Agar was benched. It’s a must win with an eye on net run rate that Australia needed to lift. The Australian bowlers were up to the task, only 3 Bangladeshi batters managed double digit scores with highest of 19 as Bangladesh were cheaply bowled out for 73. A very dominant bowling performance, Zampa’s 5 wicket haul was the highlight, he’d missed a hat-trick with a sharp catch being dropped. It was Australia’s best chance to up their net run rate and the top order opted for a carnage, Australia in reply chased down 73 in just 6.2 overs with Finch’s 40(20) and Marsh’s 16(5). A chase down in 6.2 overs gave Australia a massive boost in run rate before their final league stage game.
MUST WIN, AUSSIES REPEAT DOMINANCE : Australia in their final league stage game were up against the ever threat, the Windies. West Indies had a great start but a wicket got a couple more and it was cameos and knocks from the lower middle order that got West Indies to a competitive 157. Australia in reply lost Finch early and it was Warner’s quick fire 89 and Marsh’s brilliant 53 that got Australia over the line quite comfortably. Australia chased down the total with 8 wickets in hand in 16.2 overs and that helped them move 2nd in points table, a better net run rate than South Africa ahead of Saffas final clash.
ENGLAND DIDN’T LET AUSTRALIA DOWN : Australia to qualify ticked every box from their end, but had England collapsed for a low total or anything below 129 then South Africa would have gone through and fortunate enough for Australia that it wasn’t the case as England did lose the encounter by 10 runs but didn’t collapse for a low score and that saw Australia go through to the semis.
FINISHERS ENSURED A SEMI’S SPECIAL : Displaying a perfect game in a high voltage match is never on cards, a thriller makes it a blockbuster and it was nothing short. Australia were up against the unbeaten, Pakistan in the semi-final. Australia won the toss and opt to bowl, Babar and Rizwan stitched a brilliant partnership upfront but their runs weren’t hurting, Babar looking to accelerate departed. Australia till the 17th over had a good outing and it was then when Steve Smith dropped a catch in the deep and provided a life to Fakhar that he capitalised on as he went on to hit a couple maximums to provide Pakistan a strong finish, 176 on board. Pakistan had a dream start with Finch being dismissed for a golden duck, Steve Smith and Maxwell too didn’t score. Warner’s 49 helped Australia remain in the hunt after early hiccup. Australia lost maxwell in the 13th over and it again was Wade and Stoinis who had a job to do, the duo had a defensive start but managed to get odd boundaries to remain in the hunt. The 3rd ball of the 18th over saw Hasan Ali drop Wade on 21(13) and this time Wade capitalised as in the next 3 delivers fearlessly with power blows launched three maximums and sealed the game for Australia with an over to spare, was near to impossible with not having many wickets in hand, but Pakistan’s immaturity in the death, a crunch moment costed them the game. From 96-5 Aussies finished on 177-5 making it their best comeback game in T20I cricket. Pakistan lacked maturity and fed what Wade likes and he didn’t fail to capitalise. Not a comprehensive win but it’s always special to have such wins when come in a crunch moment. Wade and Stoinis displayed nerves of steel who remained unbeaten in 40’s and it was a comfortable looking 5 wicket win for Australia that see’s them through to the ICC T20 World Cup final.
AUSSIE CONTINUE TO DOMINATE FINALS : Australia won the toss, again opt to chase and it was the same XI, plan A. Australia weren’t quite at their best with the ball, to be specific, Starc. New Zealand were comfortably charging at Australia despite losing an early wicket as Kane Williamson was in beast mode. Aussies did well to capitalise after a wicket and didn’t allow Kiwi’s to have a strong finish, the middle over play dominance saw New Zealand post 172. Mitchell Starc didn’t have any luck coming his way, edges and good balls too flew for maximums and got to fence. Cummins and Hazelwood were standouts with Zampa continuing his good run. With the bat, Aussies were clinical. A very dominant display, Australia lost skipper Finch early but Warner and Marsh got the job done. Warner departed and Maxwell was in who with Marsh (77* off 50) finsihed the game for Australia and it was a comprehensive 8 wicket win for Australia in an ICC T20 World Cup final at Dubai.
David Warner prior to the start of the world cup was out of form, playing in the IPL a couple bad outings saw his franchise bench the aggresive opener. There were many sort of negative comments on the vastly experienced, Warner and with his 289 runs in 7 games he earned the “player of the tournament” tag. The Australian team and head coach, Justin Langer backed Warner despite the negative outside noise and were clear on Warner playing the complete tournament and that he’ll find his feet. Incredible story of self belief and aggresive attitude that’s seen Australia go through in the tournament and to be the champions for the first time in T20 World Cups.
Emotions all around, teary eyes with a broad smile on faces of fans and Australian camp as Australian Men’s team add yet another historic and proud moment to their very proud sporting legacy. Australia get hands to their first ever ICC Men’s T20 World Cup trophy after dominating the other white-ball format for years, 5 ICC ODI World Cup Trophies and now the T20 World Cup trophy, the cabinet has it all.