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Monday, May 23, 2022

Australia claim maiden T20 World Cup title

Australia’s great Twenty20 drought is finally over after Mitch Marsh lifted them to an eight-wicket win over New Zealand in the World Cup final in Dubai.

Chasing 173 for victory, Marsh was the hero for Australia on Sunday as he whacked an unbeaten 77 from 50 balls to set up the win with seven balls to spare.

David Warner also hit 53 from 38 as part of a 92-run second-wicket stand with Marsh, ending a 14-year wait for Australia to claim the one trophy that has eluded them.

After Kane Williamson’s 85 from 48 balls gave New Zealand real hope and Aaron Finch fell early, Australia needed a man to stand up in the chase.

And it was Marsh who stepped up in one of his finest hours as an Australian cricketer.

He put Adam Milne into the crowd at backward square the first ball he faced, and sent the next two deliveries to the boundary in a sign of things to come.

He made a clear statement of force against each of the Black Caps’ bowlers, dispatching Jimmy Neesham and Mitch Santner for six off the first balls they bowled.

The right-hander also took another Ish Sodhi over for 16, as the legspinner lost his way and the game got away from New Zealand.

Out of the picture in international cricket months ago and after only playing 15 T20s for Australia in the 10 years before 2021, the tournament has been a coming of age for Marsh.

The West Australian averaged 61.66 in the UAE at a strike-rate of above 145, while his year is now the most prolific of any Australian in the T20 format.

He finished Sunday night with 10 boundaries – including four sixes – as Australia made light work of the biggest chase in T20 World Cup final history.

Warner’s supporting knock was his third half-century of the tournament, after he entered with question marks over his own form after being axed from his IPL side.

Glenn Maxwell also stood up the death, cruising to 28 from 18 before hitting the winning runs with a switch-hit.

The big chase came after Josh Hazlewood had earlier been Australia’s best with the ball, on a night where a dropped catch in the field threatened to leave him as the villain.

Hazlewood’s figures of 3-16 included 14 dot balls in the powerplay, after he also claimed Daryl Mitchell early with a slower ball.

But his bad drop of Williamson threatened to prove costly, when he put the New Zealand captain down on 21 off as many balls at fine leg.

It prompted an explosion from the Black Caps, as Williamson took 19 off that Starc over and 22 off another with the left-armer struggling to hit his length and finished 0-60.

New Zealand hit 115 from their final 10 overs, with eight of Williamson’s 13 boundaries coming from Starc as he pummelled Australia all around the ground.

Hazlewood, Pat Cummins (0-27) and Adam Zampa (1-26) were in comparison miserly, allowing Australia’s batsmen to create history with the chase.


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