Australia has ticked another box in international cricket.
A terrific second-wicket partnership between David Warner and Mitchell Marsh drove Australia to their first-ever T20 World Cup victory in Dubai on Sunday. Marsh remained not out on 77.
Chasing a total of 172 against New Zealand, Australia romped home with six balls to spare, having lost just two wickets.
A target of 173 in a global final is never easy but Marsh with his power and reach made it look like a walk in the park in company of David Warner (53 off 38 balls), who also turned the wheels of fortune for himself and his team during a victory, achieved in 18.5 overs.
Marsh, a man of immense potential, who has never really done justice to his enormous talent, lit Dubai’s skyline with some ruthless stroke-play and it was one such night when Kane Williamson’s touch of class was left in the shadow.
It’s never the great feeling to watch Williamson as a tragic hero but even in defeat, the graceful Black Caps skipper would doff his hat for Marsh, who became Australia’s Man for the Job, having been promoted to number three for this tournament.
Marsh hit six fours and four sixes, including a couple off monster ones off Ish Sodhi’s (0/40 in 3 overs) bowling. And for all the sceptics, who believe T20 cricket only needs short-format specialist, Australia won their first title with five Test specialists — three pacers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood — along with Warner and Steve Smith in the side. After five ODI World Cup titles, Australia finally exorcised the ghosts and in the most professional manner under a cool but under-rated skipper Aaron Finch.
Warner, who was humiliated at this very venue by an Indian IPL franchise, who made him sit in the gallery with a flag in hand, played his part in their stand of 92 in just under 10 overs. It was a tournament where Warner made a comeback after being down in dungeons for a very long time and showed the world that one should never mess with champions egos.
Earlier, skipper Kane Williamson’s masterly knock of 85 took New Zealand to a competitive 172 for four. Put into bat, New Zealand literally struggled in the first 10 overs with Martin Guptill’s painful 28 off 35 balls slowing the proceedings. Williamson made the stage his own with a grace of a ballet dancer hitting 10 fours and three sixes in his 47-ball knock.
In the last 10 overs, New Zealand scored an astounding 115 runs to make a match of the Grand Finale. Williamson shifting gears with such ease that it was a treat to watch him play.
The first 16 deliveries that he faced fetched him only 15 runs as Adam Zampa was back then in the midst of a good spell while Guptill’s scratchy form also affected the skipper. But once, he decided that he needed to get a move-on, he hit all those copybook shots in his own free will scoring 70 off the next 31 deliveries.
The first half of the night certainly belonged to Williamson, who again reiterated the age-old saying — a technically accomplished Test batter can play any format with authority as he did during an en evening when it mattered the most
New Zealand and Australia were eyeing their first world title in cricket’s shortest format.
New Zealand were the first to book a place in the final after defeating England by five wickets. Australia beat Pakistan by the same margin in the second semis.