Marsh, Warner fire Australia to maiden World T20 title
Australia were just being Australia: ruthless, invincible and powerful as Aaron Finch and Co gave no quarter to New Zealand on way to lifting their maiden ICC T20 World Cup title with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory in the final at the Dubai Cricket Stadium yesterday.
Who would have thought it would be Mitchell Marsh, a player who was not even considered in the T20 squad even two series before the World Cup, will emerge as the hero for the side in the final?
The 30-year-old guided the Aussies with a match-winning unbeaten 50-ball 77 to gun down the target of 173 runs.
Probably no other team knows better how to handle the pressure of a World Cup final than the Aussies and they came with all guns blazing while chasing a challenging total in the all-important final.
Despite posting 172 for four riding on a magnificent 48-ball 85 from skipper Kane Williamson -- the highest-ever total in the finals of T20 World Cup history -- New Zealand might feel they were at least 20 runs short in the end.
But the way Marsh and an in-form David Warner batted despite losing skipper Aaron Finch early on, even a target of 200 might not have been enough, thanks to the 92-run second-wicket stand between Marsh and Warner.
Finch's early departure for five off the bowling of Trent Boult gave the Kiwis the early momentum but since then Marsh and man-of-the-series Warner took charge and there was no looking back for the Aussies.
Australia kept the basics right and added 43 for one in the Powerplay and were always in control with boundaries being scored in almost every over of the chase.
Marsh and Warner complemented each other, with the latter reaching his fifty off 34 balls with a gorgeous six over deep midwicket against Jimmy Neesham.
When Bout bowled Warner for 53 off 38 balls, Australia still needed 66 off 44 balls with eight wickets in hand.
But Marsh remained compact and reached his fifty off just 31 balls – the fastest fifty in a World T20 final -- with a six against Ish Sodhi.
Glenn Maxwell also played his part and scored an unbeaten 18-ball 28 to complete the successful chase.
Earlier, Finch showed no hesitation in opting to field first as teams here have on most occasions successfully chased down targets in the World Cup.
New Zealand made a slow start scoring 32 for one in the Powerplay, losing hero of the semifinal, Daryl Mitchell, early on against Josh Hazlewood. Between the fourth and eighth overs, the Kiwis could not hit a boundary.
However, Williamson took charge and stepped on the gas although he was dropped on 21 by Hazlewood off the bowling of Mitchell Starc.
The Kiwi skipper took a liking to Starc, hitting eight boundaries as Starc finished with figures of 60 for none in four overs.
Williamson reached his 14th T20I fifty off 32 balls as New Zealand reached 114 for two in 15 overs. The Kiwi skipper then smashed Starc for 22 runs in the 16th over and set his side for a challenging total.
In the next four overs, New Zealand added 36 to the total losing two wickets in the 18th over bowled by Hazlewood. Glenn Philips was dismissed for 18 as the third-wicket stand with Williamson ended on 68 off 37 deliveries.
And then Williamson departed for 85, becoming Hazlewood's third victim as the Aussies clawed back towards the end of the innings.