Aaron Finch conceded that Australia’s hopes of defending their men’s T20 World Cup title may already be out of their hands because of the huge margin of the loss to New Zealand and its impact on their net run-rate.
Although the table is in its most embryonic stage after the first day of the Super 12s, Australia’s NRR is -4.450 following the 89-run hammering at the SCG, where they were bundled for 111.
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They had one huge blowout on their way to the title last year in the UAE when they were beaten heavily by England, but by then they had two wins on the board and had just two group matches left. So it was a shorter sprint to the line than they potentially face this time, starting with the match against Sri Lanka in Perth on Tuesday.
“That’s a big loss in the context of the tournament,” Finch said. “We were just totally outplayed in all three facets. It hurts our net run-rate… but we’re still going to be positive. I think we still back ourselves that we can win four, and you need a little bit of luck along the way in such a brutal tournament.”
Australia had little choice but to bat aggressively in their chase when faced with a target of 201, but both Finch and Mitchell Marsh fell trying to target the short boundary, which New Zealand had done to good effect, after David Warner was unlucky to be bowled via his pad and the back of the bat.
“Think we made some poor decisions, took us a little longer to assess the conditions”
This was Australia’s fifth defeat in their last nine T20Is but Finch said there would not be a reassessment of how they go about their game. “You can’t go into a shell in T20 cricket,” he said. “You have to be able to transfer pressure back on the opposition as quick as you can, and at times that comes with risk. So you have to be prepared to wear the consequences of taking risks at times.
“We haven’t got it totally right. We’ve got to look at ourselves in that regard. But I’m still committed to playing the same way that won us the last World Cup and has given us a bit of a setback here. We’ve taken the fate out of our own hands I think, to a point. We need to be ultra-positive, ultra-aggressive, and I’m sure that we’ll all do that.”
One of the talking points when Australia were in the field was the absence of Glenn Maxwell from the attack just two days after Andrew McDonald pinpointed him as a key part of the bowling unit. Finch indicated the absence had largely been down to an unfavourable match-up with Devon Conway, who batted through the innings, which meant Marcus Stoinis bowled his full quota of four overs.
Australia’s batting collapse will cause Aaron Finch some concerns•ICC/Getty Images
“We felt that Marcus Stoinis bowling quite a bit of pace off was working really well,” Finch said. “Devon Conway is a really good player at spin. So while he was in and he’d faced 25, 30 balls, it can be hard to stop any batter hitting to that short side. And there wasn’t any spin in the wicket in that first half of the game, so it felt it would be a little bit of a bigger risk with Devon being able to access that side. We felt as though Stoinis would be able to defend himself a little bit better.”
However, Adam Zampa suggested Australia may have been slow to take pace off the ball when New Zealand were away to a flying start from Finn Allen.
“Making the right decisions earlier, it’s probably ‘do we take the pace off the second, third or fourth over just to change it up a bit’. Probably in hindsight we could have,” Zampa said. “Maxi’s a great option for us as well, think we made some poor decisions, took us a little longer to assess the conditions. You saw Tim Southee, Trent Boult in their powerplay… they just used the pitch, Tim Southee bowled off-pace really well and made it hard for us to score.”