Coach Justin Langer yesterday said Australia will come out with a “mindset” of winning the Twenty20 World Cup final against New Zealand regardless of the all-important toss factor.
The flip of the coin has weighed heavily in the tournament staged in the United Arab Emirates with Dubai - venue of tomorrow’s final - witnessing 11 wins out of 12 matches for the team batting second. Australia became the latest to win after opting to bowl first against Pakistan on Thursday when they chased down 177 with one over and five wickets to spare in the second semi-final.
“Finchy actually thought about batting last night because it was a big final but people talked him out of it,” Langer told reporters. “Can’t deny the statistics. In the final, you know how close it got last night, it could have gone either way. Very important we have the mindset whether we bat first or bowl first that we can win from any situation.”
Australia were in trouble at 96-5 in their chase when Marcus Stoinis (40) and Matthew Wade (41) put on an unbeaten stand of 81 to halt Pakistan’s juggernaut of five wins in the Super 12 stage.
The left-handed Wade, a wicketkeeper-batsman, smacked pace ace Shaheen Shah Afridi for three straight sixes to close the game in the 19th over.
Stoinis also admitted the toss has played a big part in deciding matches but hoped the pitch in the final “takes that element of the game out of it, little bit more”.
Langer hailed the team’s “fearless” approach as he talked of Stoinis hitting a six off Shadab Khan one ball after the leg-spinner took down Glenn Maxwell.
“When Marcus Stoinis - the ball after the wicket - hit the six off the leggie, that’s what you call fearless cricket,” said Langer.
“And if you are going to win this tournament we have got to continue on with the way we played Bangladesh (in a group game when they chased won 74 in 6.2 overs), bat first or second, that fearless or aggressive batting is going to be crucial.”
‘Respect and friendship’
The trans-tasmanic contest will bring back memories of the 2015 50-over final in Melbourne when Australia beat New Zealand to lift their fifth ODI World Cup.
“We have been born up watching the All Blacks. The way New Zealand have gone about their business for the last few years has been outstanding,” said Langer.
“They are really Good bunch of blokes. They get on with the job and get it done. We have to be at our best like we have been throughout this tournament to beat New Zealand.
“Great respect and friendship between both teams. We are looking forward to this contest. Lot of history.”
Both the team are searching for their first T20 World Cup title after six attempts.
The coach praised the team’s balance starting with what he called as “one of the best opening partnerships in the world and in our history of white-ball cricket” between skipper Aaron Finch and Warner.
“Aaron Finch, Dave Warner is a no brainer,” said Langer.
“Mitch Marsh grabbed his opportunity in the West Indies. I have never seen him play as well he has been playing. So he is the final piece of the puzzle for us.
“Maxi fits in. Steve Smith is the Mr. Fixit. Talk about finishers and so pleasing to see Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade grabbing that opportunity.”
The former opener took over in the aftermath of the notorious “Sandpaper-gate” ball-tampering tour of South Africa in 2018 and was widely praised for rebuilding the culture of Australian cricket.
Warner’s six on double-bounce ball ‘unbelievable’: Langer
David Warner’s six on a delivery that bounced twice in the World Cup semi-final has been termed unsportsmanlike, but Australia coach Justin Langer yesterday called the shot “unbelievable”.
Warner hit 49 to set up Australia’s five-wicket victory over Pakistan in Dubai on Thursday to book a title clash with New Zealand. But his 30-ball knock had two interesting moments including when he jumped out of his crease sideways to smash Mohamed Hafeez for a six over deep mid-wicket after the ball had slipped from the bowlers hand and connected with the bat on a double bounce.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir said: “What an absolutely pathetic display of spirit of the game by Warner! #Shameful”
But Langer said he was impressed by Warner’s instinct to make a shot out of the ball that would have surprised any batsman. “Oh my gosh! it’s one of the best things I have ever seen in the game of cricket. I don’t think anyone would have the instincts to do that,” Langer told reporters. “Most people would not have been sure what to do. It’s a no ball and then to have the talent and ability to hit it for six, unbelievable.
“And then he walked of course when he nicked it, so anyone thinks it to be unsportsmanlike, probably evens it up a bit.”
The second key moment came when Warner fell to spinner Shadab Khan, caught behind and walked back only for replays to suggest the left-hand opener did not edge the ball. Glenn Maxwell at the other end also could not assist his partner in taking a review - two left in the Australia innings at that point.
Langer said the team would work on taking the referrals. “So much noise out there last night, honestly it was like a rock concert,” Langer said on the nearly packed Dubai stadium with Pakistan supporters. “I think we have all talked about it. He was surprised. Maxi was surprised, he was his partner when saw it on the replays later on in the innings. We will work through that.”
Warner hit three fours and three sixes to give the team a flying start before Shadab Khan pulled it back with his four wickets. Australia fell to 96-5 after Maxwell’s wicket before Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade pulled off the team’s chase of 177 with one over to spare.
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