Dubai: A brilliant knock by Mitchell Marsh (77 n o, 50b, 60b, 6×4, 4×6) and an equally superb innings by David Warner (53, 38b, 4×4, 3×6) enabled Australia win their maiden T20 world title with an emphatic eight-wicket victory over New Zealand at the DSC stadium here Sunday. Chasing a victory target of 173, the Aussies romped home with seven balls to spare with Glenn Maxwell (28 n o, 18b, 4×4, 1×6) giving Marsh company at the end.
Earlier, after being put in, New Zealand scored a challenging 172 for the loss of four wickets with skipper Kane Williamson hogging the limelight with ‘brutally artistic’ knock of 85 (48b, 10×4, 3×6). However, their inability to force the pace in the power play probably cost New Zealand the game. They managed to score only 32 runs in six overs for the loss of the wicket of the in-form Daryl Mitchell. The Aussies on the other hand scored 43 in their power play overs and that probably tilted the game in their favour.
The other thing that worked in Australia’s favour was the inability of the Kiwi spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner either to pick up wickets or restrict runs. Sodhi has been one of the key bowlers for New Zealand leading up to the final. However, he went for 40 in his three overs while Santner conceded 23 in his three. It meant that the spinners had conceded 63 runs in six overs at more than 10 runs er over. Tim Southee (43 off his 3.5 overs) also did not pose much of a problem for the Aussie batters and the end result was that Trent Boult’s (2/18) went in vain.
But finally the injury-ravaged Marsh finally found his night of reckoning and glory. 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.
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 Williamson’s touch of class was left in the shadow. In fact Marsh forced Williamson to remain a ‘tragic hero’ once again.
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.
Warner and Marsh put on 92 runs for the second wicket after the early loss of Finch. Then Maxwell and Marsh put on an unbeaten 66 runs for the third wicket to seal an emphatic Australian triumph.
Put into bat, Williamson was brutal and artistic during his beautifully crafted knock. It was due to his efforts, the Kiwis scored 115 runs in the last 10 overs. Out of those runs, 24 came off one Starc over, when Williamson smashed the pacer for four boundaries and one six.
New Zealand 172 for 4 (Kane Williamson 85, Josh Hazlewood 3/16) lost to Australia 173 for 2 in 18.5 overs (Mitchell Marsh 77 n o, David Warner 53, Glenn Maxwell 28 n o, Trent Boult 2/18) by eight wickets.