Aaron Finch acknowledged that given the enormous margin of Australia’s loss to New Zealand and its effect on their net run rate, their chances of successfully defending their men’s T20 World Cup championship may already be over.
Australia’s NRR is -4.450 following the 89-run thrashing at the SCG, when they were bowled out for 111, despite the fact that the table is still at its most incipient stage after the first day of the Super 12s.
In the UAE, they suffered a major defeat en route to winning the championship last year, but by that point, they had already recorded two victories and had just two group games remaining. So, starting with the match against Sri Lanka in Perth on Tuesday, it was a shorter race to the finish line than they would encounter this time.
“That’s a big loss in the context of the tournament,” Finch said. “We were just totally outplayed in all three facets. It hurts our net run-rate… but we’re still going to be positive. I think we still back ourselves that we can win four, and you need a little bit of luck along the way in such a brutal tournament.”
With a target of 201, Australia had no choice but to bat aggressively in their pursuit. However, after David Warner was unlucky to be bowled via his pad and the back of his bat, Finch and Mitchell Marsh both fell while attempting to target the short boundary, which New Zealand had done to good effect.
Australia has lost five of their past nine T20Is, but Finch stated that they will not change the way they approach their game. T20 cricket doesn’t allow for you to withdraw, he remarked. “You have to be able to put pressure back on the opposition as quickly as possible, and sometimes doing that means taking a risk; thus, you have to be ready to bear the repercussions of taking risks occasionally.
“We haven’t got it totally right. We’ve got to look at ourselves in that regard. But I’m still committed to playing the same way that won us the last World Cup and has given us a bit of a setback here. We’ve taken the fate out of our own hands I think, to a point. We need to be ultra-positive, ultra-aggressive, and I’m sure that we’ll all do that.”
When Australia came on the field, one of the talking points was Glenn Maxwell’s omission from the assault just two days after Andrew McDonald identified him as a crucial member of the bowling unit. Finch claimed that the reason for the absence was primarily due to an unfavorable match-up with Devon Conway, who batted through the innings and allowed Marcus Stoinis to bowl all four of his allotted overs.
“We felt that Marcus Stoinis bowling quite a bit of pace off was working really well,” Finch said. “Devon Conway is a really good player at spin. So while he was in and he’d faced 25, 30 balls, it can be hard to stop any batter hitting to that short side. And there wasn’t any spin in the wicket in that first half of the game, so it felt it would be a little bit of a bigger risk with Devon being able to access that side. We felt as though Stoinis would be able to defend himself a little bit better.”
Adam Zampa, though, asserted that Australia might have been slow to pick up the pace after New Zealand got out to a fast start thanks to Finn Allen.
“Making the right decisions earlier, it’s probably ‘do we take the pace off the second, third or fourth over just to change it up a bit’. Probably in hindsight we could have,” Zampa said. “Maxi’s a great option for us as well, I think we made some poor decisions, it took us a little longer to assess the conditions. You saw Tim Southee, Trent Boult in their powerplay… they just used the pitch, Tim Southee bowled off-pace really well and made it hard for us to score.”