Aaron Finch revelled in the “awesome” feeling of leading Australia to their first men’s T20 World Cup crown but confessed the outcome of the coin toss was a major factor throughout their campaign.
Finch called correctly for the sixth time in seven matches ahead of the final against New Zealand and, with teams batting second under lights winning every tournament game in Dubai there was little doubting what he would do.
New Zealand amassed 172 for four, largely thanks to Kane Williamson’s 85 off 48 balls, but twin fifties from David Warner and Mitchell Marsh helped Australia win by a thumping eight-wicket margin and with seven balls to spare.
While the commanding nature of their victory means the toss might have been irrelevant, Finch admitted it has had an impact throughout the last few weeks as sides fielding first have had the more favourable batting conditions.
“It did play a big factor, to be honest,” said Finch, whose side’s only defeat came after they lost the toss against England. “I don’t know how I did it, maybe it was just fate.
“I tried to play it down as much as I could because I thought at some point I’m going to lose a toss and we’ll have to bat first. But it did play a big part. The dew factor, the slower balls weren’t holding in the wicket as much.
We won six out of seven tosses, which goes a long way
“In T20 cricket, you need a bit of luck, don’t get me wrong. We won six out of seven tosses, which goes a long way. But we’ve played some really good cricket, putting teams on the back foot because we were aggressive.
“There’s been so much talk about this being the one that’s been elusive to us. This team’s pretty special. The camaraderie, the way everyone really cares and looks after each other is pretty special. It’s awesome.”
Josh Hazlewood took three for 16 from an impeccable four overs in New Zealand’s innings but it was a bad day at the office for Mitchell Starc, whose return of 4-0-60-0 was the worst bowling analysis of a T20 World Cup final.
New Zealand’s total seemed a competitive one, but Warner’s 53 from 38 balls took him to 289 runs for the campaign at a 57.8 average and strike-rate of 147.44, having started the tournament on the back of a poor Indian Premier League campaign.
He was named player of the tournament but, when it was put to Finch that would have been unexpected, he responded: “You didn’t expect that? I certainly did.
“Without a word of a lie, I called Justin Langer a few months ago and I said, ‘Don’t worry about Davey, he’ll be man of the tournament’. He’s one of the all-time great batters and he’s a fighter.
“He’s someone who, when his back’s against the wall, that’s when you get the very, very best of David Warner. It was a special finish to the tournament for him.”
Warner was bowled by Trent Boult to end a 92-run stand with Marsh, who was undeterred and carried Australia over the line with a supreme unbeaten 77 from 50 balls, alongside Glenn Maxwell (28 not out from 18 deliveries).
Marsh has been at first drop since the summer and, although he was peculiarly dropped in the eight-wicket defeat against England two weeks ago, his return coincided with an upturn in fortunes for Australia.
He proved his value in the showpiece, and Finch said: “We committed to him batting at number three for a long time and that’s all you need sometimes, you need a little bit of backing, you need some confidence from everybody else.”
New Zealand captain Williamson, who diligently conducted his media duties amid raucous celebrations from their conquerors in the next room, was left to reflect on another white-ball final defeat for his side.
They won the World Test Championship earlier this year but were beaten at the last at the 2015 and 2019 50-over World Cups, but Williamson was as magnanimous as ever afterwards.
“It was a little bit frustrating,” he said. “But the Aussies were outstanding in their chase and very, very clinical. They have had a fantastic campaign, they are a brilliant side and they thoroughly deserved it.
“You sign up to play the game, and you win and you lose, these are things that can happen on any day. It wasn’t quite good enough. That’s just the way it goes.”
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