Quick Edit: Australia did what Australia does best, helped by fate and the toss factor | Cricket News
A quick look at the world titles the Aussies have won in the One Day format shows just how dominant they have been in world cricket and how they have consistently shown that they can peak at just the right time, regardless of immediate form, pressure, expectations, criticism etc.
As many as five ODI Men's World Cup titles won (the most by any country) from 1987 to 2015. Over the decades, the Aussies have produced quality match winners. Batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders who can turn a match on its head courtesy of individual brilliance.
And now they have won the title that had eluded them since the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2007 - The ICC Men's T20 World Cup. But one factor that also needs to be kept in mind is the toss factor. The UAE as a venue heavily favoured the teams winning the toss and fielding first. It's important to remember that Australia captain Aaron Finch won six of the 7 tosses he was a part of in the tournament.
But let their performance not be entirely viewed through the prism of Finch being lucky at the toss. The players still had to play quality cricket.
Going into this edition of the tournament, Australia were not among the immediate title favourites. They had been humiliated by Bangladesh in a T20I bilateral series on a tour in which they were arguably the favourites. A 4-1 win by Bangladesh in the 5 match series in August this year wasn't just a shock series loss, it also placed a huge question mark on their ability to go too far in the T20 World Cup. The likes of David Warner, Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell were missing, but Australia were not meant to lose to Bangladesh in this way. Their ICC T20I team ranking had slipped to sixth (behind England, India, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa). Warner was in such bad form that he was dropped by the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, before being removed as captain. Coach Justin Langer and his coaching style was increasingly being put under the scanner.
The likes of England, India, Pakistan (especially after they beat India and New Zealand in the Super 12 stage) were talked about as the big title favourites. The Aussies waited and watched.
And then Australia did what Australia does best. They began to peak at just the right time. And they were helped all through by Aaron Finch's incredible luck at the coin toss.
In the Super 12 stage they lost one match and won four. They beat South Africa by 5 wickets, Sri Lanka by 7 wickets, then lost to England by 8 wickets (which further added to England's status as one of the big title favourites), beat Bangladesh by 8 wickets, beat the West Indies by 8 wickets to enter the semi-finals as the second placed group, behind England on NRR in Group 1. A quick look at the results margins of these games shows that all the wins were big ones. All four wins were while chasing. No matter what the score on the board, the men in yellow were confident they could chase it down - and they did. The toss factor of course was crucial overall. Teams which batted first won only one out of 13 matches in Dubai - the venue of the final. The only Super 12 match which Australia lost - against England was one in which Finch lost the toss.
In the semi-final Australia met Pakistan - the only undefeated side in the tournament in the Super 12 stage - and beat them by 5 wickets to enter the final.
Once England were eliminated by New Zealand in the other semi-final and the summit clash became a Trans-Tasman clash between Australia and New Zealand, the Aussies were immediately the big favourites. Though the Kiwis had been playing good cricket and had beaten a team like India comfortably, their record in big finals vs Australia has been dismal.
All along players who were not on too many players to watch out list before the tournament stepped up to the plate and delivered for Australia. Matthew Wade won them the semi-final vs Pakistan with his batting heroics coupled with some luck (41* off 17 balls). Marcus Stoinis was brilliant at the other end (40* off 31 balls), giving Wade the support he needed to go ballistic.
Adam Zampa was exceptional in the tournament, taking 13 wickets in 7 matches and finishing as the second highest wicket taker overall, behind Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva (16 wickets for SL). Zampa had an economy rate of 5.81.
Tried and trusted war horse, Josh Hazlewood was the second Aussie bowler on the list of most wicket takers in the tournament with 11 wickets in 7 games.
The extremely talented Mitchell Marsh whose career has been brutally plagued by injuries played the knock of his life in the final to send out a very strong statement. His 77* off 50 balls (6 fours and 4 sixes) never allowed the Kiwi bowlers to settle down. He eventually finished as the second highest run getter for Australia in the tournament, behind Warner (185 runs in 5 innings).
And then there was David Warner. They said he was done, they said he wouldn't make much of an impact. And he finished as the second highest run getter in the tournament with 289 runs in 7 innings, at an average of 48.16 and a strike rate of almost 147, with three fifties. Only the ever consistent Babar Azam was ahead of Warner on this list (303 runs in 6 innings). Aaron Finch's statement after the final that writing David Warner off was like poking a bear sums it all up.
The Kiwis had gone down to the Aussies in the two big ICC tournament finals before this one - the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy final (Australia won by 6 wickets) and the 2015 ICC ODI World Cup final (Australia won by 7 wickets).
As soon as Aaron Finch won the toss on Sunday and chose to field first, the men in yellow became extremely firm favourites. And what followed next is already part of the record books. Though Williamson gave New Zealand fans a lot of hope with his knock, the men in yellow never looked like they were in trouble, despite losing Finch early. The toss factor of course helped immensely once again. Finch admitted that after the final - saying it was a big factor and calling it fate. In hindsight, the Aussies were fated to win this title in many ways.
Australia came together and played like one very tightly knit unit, they played like they had a point to prove (which they probably did) and they came together to show that you can never write them off, especially when the stars align for them.
November 15, 2021, 7:00 am