David Warner has shown up his critics with a blockbuster display at the T20 World Cup in Dubai as Australia became champions of the format for the first time.
The Aussie opener starred again in Monday (AEDT) morning’s win over New Zealand, hitting 53 from 38 deliveries before claiming player of the tournament honours ahead of leg spinner Adam Zampa.
Warner scored 289 runs in the tournament with an average of 48.16.
It was the most runs ever scored by an Australian at a T20 World Cup, surpassing Matthew Hayden’s 265 runs during the 2007 series.
“I always felt good, for me it was about going back to basics, getting on some hard, synthetic wickets in order to hit volumes of balls,” Warner said after the win.
“(Winning is) definitely up there with 2015 (ODI World Cup), 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.
“Always pumped, wanted to put on a spectacle. There were some nerves around as always in a final but great to see the guys deliver.”
Warner’s individual performance was also celebrated by his teammates, with Steve Smith declaring he had truly silenced his doubters.
“Warner’s last two weeks have been amazing,” Smith said.
“A lot of people were writing him off. He came in with exceptional intent and took the game away at the start.”
The 35-year-old’s wife Candice was also quick to show the critics how wrong they were, taking to Twitter to share news of his ‘Player of the Tournament’ honour alongside a cheeky dig.
“Out of form, too old and slow! Congratulations David Warner,” Candice wrote.
And while the Aussie cricketers were partying hard well into Monday (AEDT), David Warner took the time out on social media to thank everyone for their support.
“Thanks everyone it means a lot. How good was that,” Warner wrote in response to hundreds of gushing comments.
Meanwhile, much-maligned all-rounder Mitch Marsh was also celebrating a dominant performance during Australia’s emphatic eight-wicket win over New Zealand.
In easily his finest moment as an Australian cricketer, Marsh pounded an unbeaten 77 from 50 balls to help chase down the Black Caps’ 4-173 with seven balls to spare.
Australia’s success was perhaps their most unlikely of any of their white-ball World Cup wins since their first in 1987, given their horror lead-up to the tournament with five straight series losses.
But in Marsh, they found an even more unlikely hero.
Often the target of harsh criticism, he appeared out of the international frame a year ago and had played just 15 T20s between 2011 and 2020.
But he finished the World Cup with an average of 61.66 and a strike-rate above 145, making for the most prolific year of any Australian in history.
And when Australia desperately needed a batter to produce after Black Caps captain Kane Williamson’s 85 from 48 balls put the game in the balance, Marsh delivered.
He hit Adam Milne into the crowd at backward square first ball and followed it up with two more boundaries.
“I just wanted to get out there and have a presence,” Marsh said.
He gave the same first-ball treatment Jimmy Neesham and Mitch Santner’s opening overs, taking the game to New Zealand.
He finished the game with 10 boundaries – including four sixes – before a Glenn Maxwell (28 not out from 18) switch hit sealed the deal.
“We committed to (Marsh) batting No. 3 for a long time. He knew that,” Finch said.
“Sometimes you just need a little bit of backing and you need some confidence from everybody else.”
The big chase came after Josh Hazlewood had earlier been Australia’s best with the ball, claiming 3-16 and sending down 14 dot balls in three powerplay overs.
But his bad drop of Williamson threatened to prove costly, when he put the New Zealand star down on 21 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-arm quick struggling to hit his length and finished 0-60.
Hazlewood, Pat Cummins (0-27) and Adam Zampa (1-26) were in comparison miserly, allowing Australia’s batters to create history.
– With AAP