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Cricket News Op-ed

Australia’s rise to the top: The Men in Yellow bag first-ever ICC T20 World Cup 

Rahul Naresh Rahul Naresh

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is over after providing fans with some unexpected moments and results. It is fair to say that the pundits and experts did not deem Australia as favourites to win the tournament.

Fittingly, the five-time ODI World Cup winners beat the Kiwis in a controlled run chase on Sunday evening. A monumental effort in achieving the feat came from the old fox, David Warner, and probably the most consistent Australian T20I batter in the last year, Mitch Marsh.

 

Australia’s road to the final 

The Aussies found themselves in “the group of death”, and not even a single game could be called a sure-shot win. Yet, they went on to win four out of their five Super 12 games, losing their only match to tournament favourites England. They were pushed into a nail-biting run chase by the Proteas, but otherwise, they won the rest of their games quite comfortably.

Then, of course, they beat Pakistan in a close-fought battle to reach the final.

With crucial knocks from David Warner, Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis throughout the tournament, Australia looked set to take on New Zealand in the final.

The final turned out to not be much of a challenge for the Aussies, however, as they cruised to victory on the back of batting performances from David Warner and Mitch Marsh.

Shane Watson was extremely emotional while describing the win and had good reason for the same. He stated that the victory was monumental given what the current Aussie group of players had to go through and all that had been put into the current project.

It is not entirely evident what Watson was pointing towards, but the current Aussie lot has been through its fair share of hardships.

 

Players under pressure 

From the ball-tampering incident that dented the careers of David Warner and Steve Smith forever, with the former almost written off earlier this year during the IPL season, several others too have been under the firing line from critics throughout the year.

Both Mitch Marsh and his position at number 3 have been questioned on multiple occasions, but the big-hitting powerhouse proved his critics wrong on Sunday.

Another one who joined the party, as many would be glad to see, was David Warner. During the campaign, Warner played an instrumental role with performances against the West Indies and Pakistan, topping it all off with a crucial Fifty in the final.

Josh Hazlewood’s inclusion in the team also raised a few eyebrows, given the fact that he was dropped from Australia’s ODI World Cup side in 2019. However, Hazlewood has recently been on top of his game for his IPL side, the Chennai Super Kings, as well as his national side.

Adam Zampa joined the party as well, picking up 13 wickets with an economy of under six throughout the tournament. He was also a shout for the Man of the Tournament award; he wouldn’t be too disappointed to see the award going to his long-time colleague David Warner, though.

Marcus Stoinis was another of those doubted to finish the job at the back-end of an innings. He, too, proved his critics wrong by delivering when the team needed him; his performances in the semi-final and against South Africa in the group stage proved crucial to Australia’s success.

To play just four full bowlers and play an extra batter in Matthew Wade was another bold move that paid off; Wade’s incredible 41 off 17 balls in the semi-final against Pakistan is a knock many will remember for ages.

 

The Australians might not have been anybody’s favourites for the tournament, but they certainly proved to be an irresistible force on the international stage.

With their first-ever Men’s T20I World Cup victory, could this mark the return of Australia’s dominance on the cricketing stage? Only time will tell.

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Rahul Naresh

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