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Australia’s T20 triumph proves that winning is about seizing the game’s big moments

It was the unlikeliest of victory arcs — entering the tournament as an underdog and then incrementally growing into it.

By: Editorial |
Updated: November 16, 2021 5:00:18 pm
Historically, Australia’s cricketers have been hard-wired with the knack of lifting their game when it matters.

The idea of Australia as the ultimate tournament team that harnesses its energies, keeps its cool and manages to peak just when it matters played out again in the Emirates, when they bestrode hurdles and odds to be crowned world T20 champions in its seventh edition. It was the unlikeliest of victory arcs — entering the tournament as an underdog and then incrementally growing into it.

Historically, Australia’s cricketers have been hard-wired with the knack of lifting their game when it matters. The team was flawed, it still is, but it seemed to have only fuelled their desire to win the one trophy missing from their shelf. Each of the 11 men who featured in the final contributed to the success, but at the same time, there were some towering individual performances too. They had a man for every moment; Matthew Wade in the semifinal, Mitchell Marsh in the final, both unlikely heroes. They had the usual heroes too — the apostle of comebacks, David Warner; the metronome of consistency, Josh Hazlewood. The team had a few format-specific players — the pace trio is the same as they field in the Tests, the openers are the same as in ODIs — but in the end performances matter more than reputations and labelling. Together, they proved that winning tournaments is not so much about stacking potential match-winners in their side as it’s about seizing the game’s big moments.

There were echoes of their first 50-over World Cup victory in 1987, which ushered in an era of domination for nearly three decades, where they entered every bilateral series and knockout tournament as outright favourites, and accumulated four more ODI World Cup titles. Their maiden T20 title could possibly propel a similar reign. They have a robust domestic T20 league in BBL, high-value players zig-zagging the franchise circuit, a progressive coaching contingent and an opportunity to defend their title in their backyard next year. That it took them so long to win a World T20 is a mystery. The World Cup in UAE may just have reawakened the trophy-guzzling dragon.

This column first appeared in the print edition on November 16, 2021 under the title ‘Win like Australia’.

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