It’s not often that at the half way point of a limited overs game, you know who the winning team will be. Australia scored an intimidating 248 and it was all down to Aaron Finch. We expect batsmen to clear the boundary, but what Finch did was simply unbelievable. The highest ever T20 score – 156 from just 63 balls. He beat the previous best which was 123, held by Brendon McCullum which looks insignificant in comparison. More records tumbled as he hit the most sixes in an innings. He was unlucky not to achieve the fastest T20 hundred, slowing down through the nineties, unaware of the record.
Aaron Finch didn’t feature in the test side, he’s a T20 specialist. He demonstrates the impact the game of T20 has had on batsmen. There weren’t any elegant cover drives that are threaded through the infield but a different way of batting. A wide stance, a huge bat, massive shoulders and when the bat makes contact with the ball the only result is six. He also showed that T20 isn’t about slogging. He could play spin bowling, fast bowling and medium pace bowling with a range of shots. It was the complete innings.
England just didn’t have an answer. They were flustered and the captain, Start Broad couldn’t retain any control. First of all, after winning the toss, it was a strange decision to bowl first but I think in hindsight it looks a far worse decision. He didn’t rotate his bowlers regularly, even when they were unsuccessful. The bowling plans lacked any inventiveness. There were a distinctive lack of yorkers, slower ball bounces and unpredictability. This allowed Finch to set himself and give it a whack. I think England had a system and stuck to it. Dernbach showed his expertise at the end, bowling Finch with a slower ball and then Watson, who was also striking the ball nicely in the huge shadow of Finch.* But by this time, Australia already had well over 200 and it was too late. This does sound like a bit of a rant at Stuart Broad and yes, I don’t think he should be captain but I don’t blame him, as it is incredibly difficult to captain as a side as a bowler, especially in T20 cricket. For me, Eoin Morgan should be captain. Having played T20 around the world, his experience and calm presence would be a better fit.
Although it looked like the Aussies were going to win, England had to give it a go. It was good to see Mitch Johnson back in England once again and back to his usual self, with his first over going for 17 with wides and no balls. Lumb struck the ball nicely early on, but it didn’t last long, The only major contribution was from Joe Root. Continuing to impress, he scored 90 off 49 balls in his first international T20 innings. It was an important innings for Root, with Michael Carberry’s bid to get into the side, someone has to miss out. England finished with a score of 209, a good score but not good enough.
Looking forward to the next T20 between the two sides, Australia will fee on top, but England shouldn’t be too worried because it was really only one man that won the game for the Aussies, and England’s batting would have been good enough to win most international T20’s. Also, don’t forget that England won the main event – The Ashes.
*metaphorically speaking. I don’t mean his actual shadow. But that is also pretty big.