Australia’s ICC World Twenty20 Tournament came to a close on Friday night on the back of a large 74-run loss to the West Indies. Chris Gayle led the charge and helped the Windies post 205. Australia never looked like threatening them, aside from a knock of 63 from captain George Bailey.
After scintillating and crushing form in their first four games, the Aussies seemed to “tone” things down against Pakistan, scraping through to the semi-finals on net run rate. Against the West Indies, the firepower of Gayle was the key in setting up a monstrous victory.
Having come into the tournament ranked 9th, the Aussies looked the goods until their Super 8 match against Pakistan, where the question was raised: ‘what do Australia care about?’ after their appalling loss to Pakistan.
It will also serve as a reasonable base coming into the Australian summer, which commences next month.
Here is a review of each player that took to the field for Australia:
Shane Watson: by far the best player for Australia, finishing with 249 runs at 49.80 and 11 wickets at 16.00. Watson’s ability in the opener’s slot to systematically take apart the bowling attacks of Ireland, the West Indies etc set a cracking platform for the rest to match. Watson’s aggressive bowling was a key part in Australia’s victories, able to stem the run flow or grab the breakthrough when it was needed. While his form dropped away against Pakistan and the West Indies in the semi-final, his 133 run partnership with fellow opener David Warner against India was one for the clean hitting highlights reel. Grade: A
David Warner: Warner’s Twenty20 tournament (131 runs at 26.20) lacked serious composure. Aside from his 63 against India, Warner continuously looked troubled at the crease, and was caught swinging a couple of times and dismissed. Warner’s form coming into the tournament off the back of their series against Pakistan didn’t look too flash, and perhaps that had a flow-on effect in Sri Lanka. Warner has the talent to score mountains of runs, just finding the ability to string consistent big scores together is his problem. Grade: C+
Michael Hussey: the stoic and calm batsman scored 155 runs at 77.50 batting at number three, and the only thing against him all tournament was the opportunities to get out into the middle, largely thanks to Watson and Warner. His highest score of 54 came against Pakistan, when the Australians almost missed the semi final. This innings, and his 45 against South Africa, showcased exactly what the left-hander can do as a batter. Grading: B+
Cameron White: White’s opportunities never came at this World Cup, thanks largely to the dynamic duo of Watson and Warner opening. If White wants to find himself with a secure spot in the Australian side, he would need to hope that when it comes, he can shine. Having largely shifted to a batting role, White’s spin bowling, if worked on, could provide another helpful “gadget” to the Australia side. Grading: C
Mitchell Starc: The left arm quick was a key part of the bowling attack, and the swing Starc was able to generate some lethal swing both ways. His accuracy meant that runs conceded were kept to a minimum, and as part of the Watson-Cummins-Starc trio, was able to combine beautiful line and length with aggressive attacking bowling. Having had the opportunities at this tournament, and reaping the rewards, Starc has gained some valuable form and experience heading into the Australian summer. Grading: B+
Matthew Wade: The Victorian wicketkeeper had an excellent tournament, but was cruelled in the batting by Watson and Warner. The semi-final against the West Indies saw Wade miss several balls going past (some entirely out of reach) and crucial runs were scored. That being said, Wade’s quick hands and thinking behind the stumps sent batsman packing. Has shown to be very competent in handling the international stage, simply needs more time to establish himself. Grading: B
David Hussey: Brought in for the West Indies semi-final, the younger Hussey simply didn’t and/or couldn’t grasp the opportunity thrown to him. Gone for a second ball duck, and wicketless in his bowling, David’s form coming in wasn’t up to his usual standard. Only lack of games didn’t help. Grading: N/A (minimum 2 games to call)
Glenn Maxwell: The all rounder came into the tournament on the back some decent performances from the series against Pakistan in Dubai, but failed to live up expectations that may have been placed on him. Eight runs from five matches and one wicket asks the question whether Maxwell was rushed into the Australian side. On a lot of Sri Lankan dustbowl pitches, Maxwell’s ability to spin the ball was very much lacking. Grading: C+
Brad Hogg: The 41-year-old veteran left-arm spinner still threw himself around the field like a cat, and proved to be very frustrating at times for him. His two wickets are not representative of the pressure he was able to induce on batsman, forcing them to slow down the run rate. Oldest player in the field, but still proved that he can play. Record was slightly tainted by the belting from the West Indies. Grading: B
George Bailey: The recently appointed Twenty20 Captain began his campaign overshadowed by the powerful Watson-Warner opening duo. Best innings was his 63 against the West Indies in a losing side. Captaincy fluctuated during the tournament, but Australia won its first four matches. Is probably the right man to lead the Twenty20 side (the vice captain is Watson), but the unsettled nature of both the shortest form and the inconsistency of the Australian middle order is something Bailey will have to discuss with selectors. Grading: C
Pat Cummins: The aggressive and terrifying young speedster picked up six wickets in the tournament, and while he was sometimes erratic, when Cummins bowled well, he bowled extremely well. Capable of pushing the ball past 140 kph, the new ball suited Cummins very well, giving him the ability to swing it both ways. A Starc-like bowler (though opposite handed and slightly quicker), the only downside was his economy rate (8.20). At just 19, Cummins has plenty of time to gain experience and become one of Australia’s next generation. Grading: B+
Dan Christian: A very safe pair of hands, but under performed with both bat and ball when the dice was tossed his way. Christian’s big hitting ways and all-round bowling were pinned to the ground, playing only three matches. His sole wicket also came with an economy rate of almost 8.50. While Christian is a very good attacking bowler, he wasn’t able to deliver in Sri Lanka. Grading: D
Xavier Doherty: Brought in during the Super 8 stage and immediately had an impact, grabbing career best figures of 3-20 during the tournament. Was able to somewhat quell the West Indian slaughter during the semi final, and grabbed the vital wicket of monster hitter Kieron Pollard. Extremely underrated spinner who just hasn’t had the opportunities. Grading: B+
Overall team grade: B-B+
(image source: ICC)