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The Financial Express

Australia revisit love affair with ICC tournaments


Photo: ESPNCricinfo Photo: ESPNCricinfo

"This was not meant to happen. This could not happen. This is happening." 

This was a very inspiring quote by Peter Drury in one of the most incredible of ties in the UCL. But this time it perfectly matches with a cricketing phenomenon.

It matches because of the way Australia carried their campaign, the way they struggled all the year but still managed to do it in the biggest stage of all, like they always do.

Australia were never among the favourites in the T20s. They came into the T20 World Cup winning only 6 out of their last 21 T20Is. Also, they lost 5 consecutive T20 series in the process. None of their players except Mitchell Marsh and Josh Hazlewood were in form as well. 

David Warner arguably suffered one of his worst years both for national colours and for franchise colours. So did Mitchell Starc. Aaron Finch and Pat Cummins had their moments but those were really a vague display of their original capabilities.

Maxwell enjoyed a great IPL but was a blur for the national team. Stoinis had his struggles with injuries; Zampa was on and off. 

Australia were in disarray facing all sort of turmoil on the field. But there is a very famous saying about Australia - "They never give up until it’s over." And that's what they did this time too.

It was not easy for them. They were drawn in the group of death and had to face some mighty tasks there. But they have gotten the better of every opponent.

Warner stood up against Sri Lanka and the Windies. Marsh stood up too. Aaron Finch had his moments. Maxwell couldn't deliver with the bat but did his cheeky overs with the bowl that proved to be massive. And Zampa and Hazlewood stood up every time Australia needed them. 

After that, they marched on the knock-out stages in style. The World Cup has seen two of its most incredible run chases by Australia. First against Pakistan in semi-final where a mammoth 176 couldn’t prevent them.

And in the final. 172, the highest in the history of the World T20 finale, was not enough to stop an Aussie side full of spirit.

There were many questions about the team selection, to be more specific, questions about some inclusions.

But the Aussie players did what they casually do, proved the critics wrong.

Matthew Wade has been one of the best finishers of the tournament. Adam Zampa was the highest wicket-taker of the tournament (in super 12s).

David Warner became the player of the tournament. And the most astonishing thing was that when so many players were questioned for their form, the ultimate triumph came as a team performance, not any individual effort.

Everyone had their fair share of contributions. When Warner didn’t stand up, Finch did. When both failed, Marsh or Wade or Stoinis stepped up. When Hazlewood didn’t fare well, Starc or Zampa did. There was no lone warrior. 

Australia already proved their supremacy so many times in ODIs and Tests. This was the one format they couldn’t budge in. And Australia have done it here too.

They have come back from a rock bottom, where they never belonged, to a place where they always belonged, to the top of the world.

One year from now, they will try to defend it on their home soil. Till the crown is their, they are the new Kings of T20 cricket. 

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