Australia skipper Aaron Finch won six of his seven tosses on the way to his team’s first ICC Men’s T20 World Cup trophy and admitted it played a “big part”.
Australia thrashed New Zealand by eight wickets in Dubai after Mitchell Marsh hit an unbeaten 77 to steer the team home to their target of 173 in 18.5 overs. Finch got out early for five but Marsh and David Warner, who hit 53, put on 92 for the second wicket then set up the chase to perfection.
The flip of the coin weighed heavily in the tournament with teams chasing having a clear advantage due to the night-time dew in the United Arab Emirates. Teams bowling first won 12 of 13 matches played at the Dubai International Stadium.
“It did play a big factor to be honest,” Finch said on being how he ensured the call of the coin fell in his favour.
“I tried to play it down as much as I could because I thought at some point in the tournament I’m going to lose a toss and we’ll have to bat first. But it did play a big part. You saw at the end there, the dew factor, the slow balls weren’t holding in the wicket as much. I don’t know how I did it (win the tosses). Maybe it was just fate.”
Here are excerpts from Finch’s press conference:
Just wanted to say, how did you win six tosses out of seven, and how important was the toss factor in this tournament?
It did play a big factor to be honest. I tried to play it down as much as I could because I thought at some point in the tournament I’m going to lose a toss and we’ll have to bat first.
But it did play a big part. You saw at the end there, the dew factor, the slow balls weren’t holding in the wicket as much. I don’t know how I did it. Maybe it was just fate.
Who backed David Warner, especially when he was dropped from his franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad about his off-color performance in the IPL edition?
Did you ask who backed him?
I’m asking about David Warner. How did you back him? No one expected that he would be the
You didn’t expect that? I certainly did. Without a word of a lie, I promise you, I called Justin Langer a few months ago and said, “Don’t worry about Davey, he’ll be Man of the Tournament.”
I thought Adam Zampa should have been Man of the Tournament personally, but he’s a great player. He’s one of the all-time great batters. And he’s a fighter. He’s someone who when his back is 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, the last couple of knocks.
A word on Mitchell Marsh. You moved him to the third spot, and he comes from a sporting family, but what a performer has been for you. And who is the DJ for the night?
Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson, they are the DJs for tonight.
Mitch’s move to No. 3 was a really important one in the West Indies. We felt as though he’s someone who could play – he obviously plays fast bowling very well. Growing up in the WACA, he’s very, very dominant off the back foot. He’s someone who loves the contest, loves the challenge. And we just backed him from the start. We committed to him batting No. 3 for a long time. He knew that, and that was – that’s all you need sometimes. You need a little bit of backing and you need some confidence from everybody else.
And I think it was the first ball he faced in the practise game, the first practise game against New Zealand where he hit for six, also. That just shows the confidence that he has, the confidence we have in each other. It was brilliant.
You’re the first Australian man to win the T20 World Cup. How proud a moment is this for you?
Yeah, it’s awesome, it really is. I think there’s been so much talk about this being the one that’s been elusive to Australia. And to be fair, we probably underperformed in the past, if we are being honest with ourselves. We’ve had some great teams along the way. This team is pretty special. The camaraderie, the way that everyone really cares for each other and looks after each other, looks out for each other; pretty special. So yeah, it’s awesome. That’s brilliant and it’s great for Australian Cricket.
If you had been told a fortnight to go after the England game that you would be here now, winning captain, would you have believed them?
Yeah. Yeah, I would have. I would think a few things would have had to go our way to do that but honestly we had such a belief in our group that we were good enough that our team and our squad and our extended squad were the right players, and as good as anyone in the world.
T20 cricket, you need a bit of luck. Don’t get me wrong; of course you need a bit of luck, and like you said, we won six out of seven tosses, which goes a long way.
But we played some really good cricket. We played cricket where we put teams on the back foot because we are aggressive. And yeah, it’s nice.
Australia has won five 50-over Cups but this is your first T20 title. Prior to the tournament, did an you pinpoint a couple areas where you wanted to do well in and address issues going forward?
Yeah, we knew the middle overs against spin, particularly leg spin. We understand that it has not been our strength. If you look at all into the numbers, that shows that leg spin hasn’t been our main strength in T20 cricket or one-day cricket or even test cricket.
We are really, really committed to staying positive and aggressive against spin, and that showed tonight. I thought the way Mitch and Davey played against New Zealand – sure, they got a four-for in the semifinal but they kept attacking.
And we were so committed to that throughout the tournament. We were comfortable to be able to fail being aggressive because we know that that’s when we play our best. I think if you go home and you don’t make the semis or you don’t make the final, you’re kicking yourself if you’re an Australian team and you play in your shell. So that was a real positive for us.
Could you just sum up the last six weeks you’ve had with your side? I think Stoinis said you almost love each other. How much of that is a factor in the success here?
It’s unbelievable. It’s been brilliant. It honestly has. It’s had ups and downs along the way, don’t get me wrong. It’s never smooth sailing. When you’re in bubbles and things like that, it’s always difficult. Guys get along very well. We’ve played some golf together. We’ve hung out. We’ve been able to relax and just enjoy each other’s company.
But when you’re in each other’s company 24/7, of course there’s going to be issues at times but that’s a part of being on a team, and as you can hear in there now, there’s always music playing in the corridors of the hotel. Everyone’s doors are always open. It’s been brilliant.
Just on Marsh, three years ago he said in a press conference that “most of Australia hates me.” I’m sure all of you love him. Could you just say a few words on him and how that feels tonight for him?
He is the nicest person you will ever meet in your life. He’s obviously a special player. To be able to put up with the critics for so long, when his performance hasn’t been bad by any stretch of the imagination and any format of the game, if you look at his ODI numbers they are very good. For him to keep coming back after people keep doubting him shows how much of a quality person he is.
How confident are you to continue this in the next edition in Australia?
Yeah, that’s quite a while away in terms of cricket time. There’s a lot of cricket to be played before then. We are just going to soak this up and really enjoy this one.
Regarding Mitchell Starc, he’s a world-class bowler. How do you back him up?
He’s a world-class bowler. Kane Williamson probably just got ahead the game against him tonight in them two overs towards the middle of the innings, but that’s okay. He’ll bounce back. He showed how good he is in international cricket.
I think tonight, you can’t read too much into that. That’s a team, New Zealand probably a little bit behind where they should have been after the first ten, and they took a chance and got away with it.
Yeah, Mitch is brilliant for us, and great around the bowlers as well, so that can never be underestimated, either.
How do you see your individual performance? We’ve seen in the past that you were quite open about your performance and being in the dressing room? Overall the Australian players have played less amount of cricket in the last 12 months or one and a half years, no injury or bio-bubble fatigue compared to other teams. Has this helped the team to achieve this?
Yeah, I think so. So the guys’ preparations for this tournament were at different stages. Some were at IPL. Some were at their state present and some were rehabbing and coming off injury.
Yeah, I think that played a part as well. To be mentally fresh towards the back end of the tournament, physically fresh as well, I think was a really important part.
And as for my form, it was poor the last two games, zero and five. I think nine against West Indies. Yeah, it’s not ideal. But overall, I’ll take no runs and a win any day of the week.
Do you have any particular message for the fans and the media regarding this journey?
Of course obviously we are very, very thankful of the Australian public and cricket public who have supported us right throughout. It’s been special to feel the love and support from home. Especially I know the time zones have been ideal to be watching the games. I think they have been starting at 1.00am, especially the finals, but the amount of people that have been getting up, turning on their alarms and supporting us has been unbelievable, and we are very, very grateful for that.
Mitch Marsh was man of the match but Josh played a huge role in the first innings. He’s the only player to play in the IPL and World Cup Final this year. Did Josh give you guys any sort of tip on playing in the UAE?
Yeah, he was really important with our bowling group. He shared his experience of CSK which was really important. To be able to bowl particularly at the end of the tournament where the wickets started to get more worn and hard length, which is Josh’s speciality, I guess, was tough to hit. Yeah, that was really important that he passed on that information.
Honestly, his performances in the IPL probably forced his way into the starting 11 over Kane Richardson who is a wonderful T20 bowler and someone who has been so important for us. But yeah, that was a tough call.
Just one on JL, only a couple of months ago there was plenty being said about him and where he’s at, but what does this mean or him, and did you notice any changes in him in this tournament that potentially helped you guys get to this point as well?
Yeah, he’s been great. The vibe around the group has been unbelievable. Just how well everyone is getting along, like I said earlier, there’s a lot of time spent in each other’s rooms and the team room and just chilling out at lunches, dinners and breakfast and everything has had all together. Yeah, I think that just adds to the environment.
So yeah, JL has play played a part in that as well, and yeah, that’s a great reward for him as well as the players.
I think I’m right in saying you’re on the same flight as the England players tomorrow. Can you tell me what you think the mood might be like, the contrasting moods might be like on that flight, and how Australian cricket might be buoyed into what’s coming up over the next few weeks?
Yeah, I’m not on that flight so I don’t know how it’s going to go. I’m flying home to Melbourne, which is nice, to no quarantine, and being with my family, which is all good.
I think the fact that we had so much support from back home, even through some times when we weren’t playing our best cricket, and there were some inconsistent performances. I think that shows how committed we are to playing cricket for Australia and how much we love it.
Obviously would you have been really happy with how Mitch Marsh went in the West Indies and Bangladesh tours, but Steve Smith had a pretty good record at three coming into the series as well. How big a decision was that to demote him in a sense and how close were you to moving Mitch down the order and keeping Smith at three?
No, not at all. To be honest it was something we chatted about before the West Indies, and then after probably just reassured us. Smithy was so open to it, and he’ll do anything the team needs.
The way that we wanted to structure up was to be more aggressive in the power play. We saw how important that was – battle of balls, sorry, and Smudge’s ability to play spin through the middle added that extra layer of confidence in our group with Stoinis and Matty Wade behind him as well, and that’s the way we tried to structure that up.
Yeah, that’s all it was, and it turned out to be a nice move.
On Mitch again, you obviously left him out against England. Can you talk about how he responded to that decision on the night and his performances in the next four games?
Yeah, he bounced back beautifully. He was obviously disappointed; everyone is when they get dropped. I don’t know of anyone who is over the moon when they get dropped.
Yeah, he was disappointed, but he knew it wasn’t a performance thing. It was only a structural change of the team; we went with a different makeup. That’s all that was.
But the way that he’s bounced back has been unbelievable.
Just another one on JL. I guess the discussions that went on there about his performance and what he needed to do from the outside looking in, anyway, a very sort of dramatic thing to happen before such a big tournament. How have you been able to check the tension and awkwardness to come into camp and play the way you have to win this tournament?
There’s been no tension or awkwardness whatsoever. It’s about having honest conversations and being really up front and being really honest.
The only time there’s awkwardness is when things are happening behind the scenes and you’re trying to work things out or you’re trying to pull things under or pull the wool over someone’s eyes. No, there’s none of that whatsoever. It’s been a great campaign.
This current Australian team has five Test specialists. Often we hear about a team of T20 specialists. Do you think it’s kind of a myth that a T20 team needs only T20 specialists per se?
There’s an argument for all of it, whichever way you want to structure. We are lucky that five of our guys are brilliant Test players and have been for a long time but they have all proven themselves in T20 cricket as well, so I don’t think you can read too much into how you go about that. I think it’s important that you are picking guys for specific roles and they execute.
What do you think was the turning point in this game?
I thought the way that we bowled with the new ball in that power play was obviously really important. That first ten overs to restrict New Zealand to, I think 57. But we knew that one down, it was always going to be tough because the dew started to come down quite heavy which we had not seen at all in the tournament so far.
I think the turning point was when I got out, for Mitch Marsh to be able to come in and play the way that he did. He was outstanding. That partnership with David was brilliant; the way that they put the pressure back on the opposition was exactly what was needed at the time.
Transcript courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone.
With AFP inputs