DUBAI (Reuters) – Australia opener David Warner and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh repaid the team’s faith after playing crucial roles in their maiden Twenty20 World Cup success, said captain Aaron Finch.
Whispers grew around Warner’s form after the feisty left-hander was dropped https://www.reuters.com/world/india/after-losing-captaincy-warner-dropped-by-sunrisers-2021-05-02 by his Sunrisers Hyderabad team in the second half of the Indian Premier League campaign before the World Cup.
The opener struggled in warm-up matches too but proved his credentials as a big-occasion player with scores of 89 not out, 49 and 53 in his last three matches, including Sunday’s final.
Australia skipper Aaron Finch was not surprised his opening partner walked away with the player-of-the-tournament award.
“You didn’t expect that? I certainly did,” he told a news conference after Australia’s comprehensive eight-wicket win nL1N2S50EU in the final.
“Without a word of a lie, I promise you, I called (coach) Justin Langer a few months ago and said, ‘Don’t worry about Davey, he’ll be man-of-the-tournament.’
“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.”
Marsh was adjudged player-of-the-match for his unbeaten 77 off 50 balls.
The all-rounder’s promotion to number three revitalised Australia’s top-order and Finch said it was a “really important move” that paid off handsomely for his team.
“He’s someone who loves the contest, loves the challenge. And we just backed him from the start,” Finch said.
“We committed to him batting at number three for a long time. He knew that, and that’s all you need sometimes. You need a little bit of backing and you need some confidence from everybody else.”
Subjected to constant scrutiny, Marsh famously said in 2019 “most of Australia hate me”, a perception likely to change after his latest heroics.
Finch said the 31-year-old was a special talent.
“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…
“For him to keep coming back after people keep doubting him shows how much of a quality person he is,” added Finch.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by Ken Ferris)