Warner, Marsh lead Aussies to cricket World Cup glory

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Norman Da Costa/Special to the Sun, Sun News Australia captain Aaron Finch celebrates with the trophy and his teammates after winning the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Dubai yesterday.Australia captain Aaron Finch celebrates with the trophy and his teammates after winning the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Dubai yesterday. Photo by Hamad I Mohammed /REUTERS

The most dominant cricketing nation in recent years has finally got its hands on the lone trophy that had eluded its grasp. On a typical hot and humid night at the Dubai International Stadium, Aaron Finch became the first Australian to lift the Twenty20 World Cup by crushing trans-Tasman neighbour New Zealand by eight wickets.

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Kane Williamson’s golden generation also had its eyes on its first trophy but it wasn’t to be as Australia kept its winning 40-year knockout record against the Black Caps intact. Unlike the fireworks of the 2016 in Kolkata, India, when the West Indies’s Carlos Braithwaite clobbered four consecutive sixes in the final over from England’s Ben Stokes to the delight of the Caribbean nations to grab the trophy, there was no grandstand finish this time as the Aussies methodically dismantled New Zealand with seven balls to spare.

Australia had the upper hand right from the time Finch called the toss correctly and chose to field. The team batting second in Dubai has won on 11 of 12 occasions and it was no different this time around except the Aussies got sensational batting performances from Mitchell Marsh and David Warner. Fast bowler Josh Hazelwood, with three for 16, and spinner Adam Zampa, one for 26, handcuffed the free-flowing Black Caps batsmen.

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New Zealand posted a competitive total of 172 for four thanks to a belligerent 85 by Williamson but Australia easily passed this total by easing to 173 for the loss of Finch and Warner’s wickets.

Earlier Williamson made Australia pay dearly after Hazelwood dropped him at fine leg when on 21. In a space of 27 deliveries the classy right-hander took Starc to the cleaners by smashing 64 runs in his 48-ball 85 that was peppered with three sixes and 10 boundaries. Starc gave away 60 runs in his four overs, his worst performance ever. At the other end opener Martin Guptill never looked comfortable and returned to the pavilion for 28 as the Kiwis were pegged back.

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It was a tremendous return to the Australian lineup for Marsh after his career had been derailed on several occasions by injury. It was also a comeback in essence for Warner who was dropped by his Indian Premier League team Sunrisers Hyderabad and to add to his embarrassment he was also relieved of his captaincy. But the left-hander, who captained Winnipeg in the T20 Canada Cricket League in 2019, showed he has rediscovered his scoring touch. After a 49 against Pakistan in the semifinal he anchored Australia with a 38-ball 53 with three sixes and four boundaries in the final and shared a key stand of 92 with Mitchell who hit an unbeaten 77 with three mighty sixes and four fours.

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“What an amazing six weeks with this group of men,’’ said Marsh, who was named man of the match. “I love them to death and now we’re world champs. I just love playing for this team. I just wanted to get out there and have a presence. I can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable.”

After Warner’s departure Glenn Maxwell, who made 28, joined Marsh to put on 66 and also hit the winning boundary.

The 35-year-old Warner said this latest triumph will be up there with the last of the five ODI World Cup wins.

“Definitely up there with 2015 (World Cup),” said Warner. “Losing to England a decade ago really hurt. These are a great bunch of guys, great support staff, and great support around the world, especially back home.”

Skipper Finch was thrilled to be the first Aussie captain to land this trophy. “This is huge, to be the first Australian team to do it,’’ said Finch. “I am so proud of how the guys went about the campaign.”

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