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The Financial Express

Australia restored pride defying all odds


Photo: ESPNcricinfo Photo: ESPNcricinfo

Before the beginning of the tournament, very few fans would have regarded Australia as favourites.

Despite their otherwise good record in ICC tournaments, Australia were yet to put their best foot forward in T20 World Cups and did not qualify for the semi-finals in the last two editions. Add to that the fact that they lost all 5 of their last T20I series.

Yet, for those who have followed their journey throughout the tournament, the result will come as no surprise. What could have changed within 3 weeks to inspire a global triumph?

On paper, Australia have one of the most well-balanced squads. They bat deep and at the same time, have 3 genuine all-rounders in the top 6. This allows flexibility with both the bowling plan and the batting order.

The form of most of their crucial players, however, remained a concern. Especially regulars like David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith, Mathew Wade and captain Aaron Finch were struggling for weeks before coming into the tournament.

Despite that, Australia stuck to these experienced individuals as some of their absence is what led to the multiple bilateral series losses.

At the biggest stage, all their experience came into play and most of them pulled through with their performance. In particular, David Warner and Mathew Wade’s return to form helped seal some of the most clutch games at important stages of the tournament. 

One uncontrollable factor for any team is the toss and Australia had that massively favouring them. Since the beginning of the Super 12s, teams winning the toss have won 23 out of 33 matches.

Australia only lost the toss once throughout the tournament and that resulted in their only defeat.

Winning the toss and bowling first meant their bowlers did not have to deal with the dew during the night games and could attack the opposing batsmen early on with the new ball.

Josh Hazlewood was the best at this with the majority of his 11 tournament wickets coming during the powerplay. Additionally, the batsmen have not been hesitant to attack from early on in the innings.

Unlike most other teams, the Australian batsmen seemed to not be carrying any additional baggage which allowed them to go through with their shot, regardless of what the match situation looked like. The aforementioned batting depth certainly helped instil the confidence for this.

Not only did the positive mindset help with their net run rate, which in turn ensured their semi-final spot, but it also helped them seal their last two games with an over or more to spare. Not allowing the opposition to take the game deep prevented nerves from coming into play.

Overall, Australia’s journey to the top may have been different from the previous champions of the tournament but it leaves a lot to be inspired from.

The best way to play T20I cricket is to enjoy one's time out in the middle and playing like a team that has nothing to lose, led Australia to a never-before-reached summit.   

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