Australia lose the unloseable T20 final in Harare

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    When openers Aaron Finch and D’Arcy Short cracked 96 off just 9.5 overs, the Australians were looking at least 200-plus batting first in the T20 final against Pakistan in Harare overnight.

    That they petered out with 8-183 thanks to yet another batting collapse with Glenn Maxwell gone for five, Marcus Stoinis for 12, Travis Head for 19, Alex Carey for two, Ashton Agar for seven, and AJ Tye for a first ball duck – after Finch has scored 47 and Short 76, in his best dig of the tournament.

    Even the predictable collapse shouldn’t have worried them – 183 was a very defendable total if the Australian attack concentrated on line and length.

    And when Pakistan was 2-3 in their first over with Finch’s inspirational call on Maxwell’s offies to open the bowling, claiming a stumping from a wide and grabbing another caught at point, the Australians were sitting pretty.

    But nobody gave a thought to the combination of audacious Pakistan batting, and trash Australian bowling.

    Not only did Pakistan cruise to victory to set a new run-chase record, they chalked up their ninth successive series win to cement their rightful place as the world’s top T20 nation.

    The stunning loss left the Australians red-faced in the Harare sun.

    At the presentation, captain Finch congratulated Pakistan on their fightback with the ball, and their incredible run chase.

    But there’s a mighty good chance he read the riot act to his troops in the shed for losing the unloseable final.

    Maxwell, Stoinis, Head, and Carey were all caught as though the fieldsmen were magnets to the ball, while Agar and Tye, who can both bat, comprehensively lost their castles.

    Finch could have genuinely thought 220-230 would be the Australian total after such a cracking start.

    Suddenly that didn’t matter when Maxwell surpassed himself by grabbing 2-3 in his first over opening up, but he then went for 21 in his second – and Pakistan was on the way.

    In the wash-up, only paceman Billy Stanlake was true to himself, the rest of his colleagues were integral members of the nightmare, with the possible exception of Jhye Richardson.

    He bowled three overs for just 12 at a critical time, but went for 17 in his final over.

    Agar went for 16 in his only over, so did Jack Wildermuth who had the exclusive embarrassment of it being a ten-ball over with four wides.

    It was the worst over in my memory since leggie Johnny Watkins at the SCG, also against Pakistan, in the 1973 Test.

    The first two deliveries headed for gully, with the third landing on the adjoining pitch, prompting keeper Rod Marsh to call out – “You’re getting closer Wocka”.

    Wildermuth was all over the shop, and it’s difficult to understand how he was ever selected.

    Yet if you look at the Harare series stats, three Australians were the leading wicket-takers.

    Tye topped the list with 12 wickets at just 12.16 with an economy rate of 7.36, Stanlake was second with seven at 17.57 with an ER rate of 6.47. and Jhye Richardson was third with seven at 21.28 with an ER of 7.45.

    But only Stanlake fired last night.

    Finch topped the series run-getters with 306 at 76.50, but it was Fakhar Zaman who butchered the Australian attack last night with a lightning 91 off just 46 with 12 fours and three maximums.

    That took him to second among the series run-getters with 278 runs at 55.60 to claim both the man-of-the-match and man-of-the-series, awards.

    So congratulations to Pakistan on a superb run-chase, but there will be a few Australians wondering if they have played their last T20.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (50)

    • July 9th 2018 @ 8:07am
      Liam said | July 9th 2018 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      It’s like you don’t expect the best team in the world to react to another team challenging them.

      This article gives approximately zero credit to Pakistan, who are a very good unit in T20’s. We, on the other hand, have only recently began to take the short form seriously.

      Good teams chase scores. Good teams peg opposition back when they come out of the blocks. And good teams make wickets look easier than they are.

      • July 9th 2018 @ 9:07am
        George said | July 9th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        At 2-3 we should have had them , bad captaincy and just not acceptable to lose from that position, stop making excuses as this is no England, it’s the unpredictable Pakistan who we should have beaten specially given we won the toss and got a good total

        • Roar Guru

          July 9th 2018 @ 10:39am
          spruce moose said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

          It’s the unpredictable Pakistan who

          1. Are No.1 ranked
          2. Won the previous 8 T20 series they’ve played in…now 9
          3. Are the reigning ICC Champions trophy holder – obviously different form of the game, but still proof they have a squad that means business.

          How about giving some credit to the team who came back from 2-3 and won?

          • July 9th 2018 @ 11:19am
            Christo the Daddyo said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

            Exactly. And there’s usually not much disgrace in losing to the number one ranked team in any sport. It came down to the last over – it’s T20 with all its unpredictability, so that game could have gone either way really.

            • July 9th 2018 @ 11:26am
              BrainsTrust said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

              I’m sick and tired of some super fakhar fahking our Australian Cricket team! Haven’t we suffered enough, this is not acceptable that we got smashed in England and now here too, stop with the excuses guys. Lynn and Khawaja should have been above short and head and stones, we got that wrong. Put it simply we have played some third class cricket throughout this year. This is definitely a mental weakness with the current Australian team rather than lack of talent. These players don’t have the killer instinct.

              • July 9th 2018 @ 11:54am
                Krishna Singh said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

                Fakar show why solid opener crucial T20 format, khawaja player who get centuries like finch, we needed finch khawaja opening or khawaja at 3, big miss from us here. Today pakistan defeated us in final and 2nd time in this series 2 years ago india whitewash us 3-0 in our own backyard. We seriously need improvement in t20 and odi format

        • July 9th 2018 @ 11:26am
          Mitcher said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

          2-3 is not even close to an unsalvagable position in T20. Even when chasing a big score.
          If you think it is, you’re probably not best qualified to judge bad (or otherwise) captaincy.

    • July 9th 2018 @ 8:09am
      KenoathCarnt said | July 9th 2018 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      Obviously if we had a fully fit squad this game would have been alot closer but regardless the main problem I have is the team setup. Do we go with 5 bowlers with Agar at7? 4 bowlers with 1 all rounder? 4 bowlers with 2 all rounders? Do we have 2 spinners? I really dont know what to think, but what I do know is that we dont really have any high quality all rounders in T20. The best we have it probly Mitch Marsh or Ash Turner who has proven to be quite useful in the short format. Stoinis to me just doesnt cut it in T20. He is good in ODI’s but the form has not carried.

      I am kind of swaded to something like this
      Try not to focus to much on the batting lineup but more the team setup.

      Khawaja
      Finch
      Lynn
      Maxwell
      Turner
      M.Marsh
      Carey
      Agar/Ahmed (Ahmed down to 11)
      Cummins
      Tye
      Stanlake/NCN

      Turner had a short stint for AUS and was quite a useful bowler. I like to think he can be our version of Shakib Al Hasan.

      • July 9th 2018 @ 8:37am
        KenoathCarnt said | July 9th 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

        5 bowlers 1 all rounder

        Finch
        Khawaja
        Lynn
        Maxwell
        Turmer/Marsh
        Carey
        Agar
        Cummins
        Tye
        Stanlake/NCN
        Starc/Lyon/Zampa/Ahmed

        I just miss Shane Watson because then you would have an out an out batsmen that is a more then uself 5th or 6th bowling option.

        • July 9th 2018 @ 9:08am
          George said | July 9th 2018 @ 9:08am | ! Report

          We badly missed Lynn and Khawaja this series and Cummins and starc too

          • July 9th 2018 @ 9:11am
            KenoathCarnt said | July 9th 2018 @ 9:11am | ! Report

            Yea Lynn is the man and Khawaja brings consistency. The best thing about Lynn is he can just go from ball 1 so you dont lose momentum in the powerplay.

            • July 9th 2018 @ 11:27am
              BrainsTrust said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

              Its been said again and again but where the heck was khawaja, aside from finch everyone struggled and we could have badly done with his batting at opener or 3. Given our start I was shocked to see Pakistan chasing down a big total which we hardly used to see before, no doubt this young team has got something in it which indicates that Pakistan has a very bright future ahead but it was bad defending by us

              • July 9th 2018 @ 11:55am
                Krishna Singh said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

                Khawaja cruical to bring back, but more him i wait for my favorite mitch marsh to comeback

        • Roar Guru

          July 9th 2018 @ 5:35pm
          Ryan H said | July 9th 2018 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

          I agree that’s probably the best method of constructing the XI. At the minute the side is a bit too much of a bits and pieces outfit cobbled together I fear.

    • July 9th 2018 @ 8:27am
      Paul said | July 9th 2018 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      another great knock from the number 3/4 ranked batsman in T20 cricket. Can do it against sides ranked 12 in the world, but not when it counts

      • Roar Guru

        July 9th 2018 @ 4:30pm
        JamesH said | July 9th 2018 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

        England and NZ are ranked 12 in the world?

    • Roar Guru

      July 9th 2018 @ 9:55am
      spruce moose said | July 9th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

      Obviously the phrase “giving credit where credit is due” is not one often quoted at the Lord family table.

      Pakistan are objectively a better T20 team and had superior form coming into the match. Australia on the other hand got pantsed by the English and bullied a Zimbabwean team that didn’t qualify for the ODI world cup next year and is currently 12th on the T20 charts.

      • July 9th 2018 @ 12:45pm
        BrainsTrust said | July 9th 2018 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

        Still a match we shouldn’t have lost, point being we lost a match we had in the bag

        • Roar Guru

          July 9th 2018 @ 1:54pm
          spruce moose said | July 9th 2018 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

          No, “we” didn’t.

          It’d t20 – it’s an absurdly unpredictable sport and it’s very design means a game can change in the space of an over.

          “we” weren’t the favourites going into the competition. “we” were under manned. Pakistan are the number one team who towelled Australia a few days before the final.

          “we” never had the game in the bag.

          It’s a game “we” weren’t expected to win.

          • July 9th 2018 @ 2:40pm
            Ross said | July 9th 2018 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

            Let’s stop making excuses, we lost a game we should have won

          • July 9th 2018 @ 3:01pm
            JimmyB said | July 9th 2018 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

            Ever think you’re the only sane one here Spruce? Speaking with logic and facts seems to really get some people’s backs up.

            • Columnist

              July 9th 2018 @ 3:15pm
              David Lord said | July 9th 2018 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

              Wrong JimmyB, his facts are not sane. With 183 in the bank, all it required was sensible line and length, and 183 was very defendable.

              It was only gettable when the Australians bowled trash, and they bowled plenty of it, with the exception of Billy Stanlake.

              Bowl half-track trash, get trashed, it’s as simple as that.

              • July 9th 2018 @ 5:16pm
                Ben said | July 9th 2018 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

                Especially when they were 2 down in the first over.
                Maxwell shouldn’t have been bowled a second over in the power play.

              • July 9th 2018 @ 7:30pm
                Ross said | July 9th 2018 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

                Well said David lord, so tired of the excuses being made by some here

              • July 9th 2018 @ 8:03pm
                William said | July 9th 2018 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

                Aus has a poor record away from home when they win the toss and bat. We have never defended 200 or less under this scenario.

                180 odd was 20-30 runs short

              • July 9th 2018 @ 9:13pm
                James Butcher said | July 9th 2018 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

                I think you’re dead wrong David.
                Sensible line and length???

    • July 9th 2018 @ 9:55am
      concerned supporter said | July 9th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

      Is Justin Langer a decent coach?

      • July 9th 2018 @ 11:21am
        Christo the Daddyo said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        Maybe give him a year or two in charge of a full strength team before asking that question?

        • July 9th 2018 @ 11:28am
          BrainsTrust said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:28am | ! Report

          Not the best start for him, but he is a good coach

          • July 9th 2018 @ 12:12pm
            Krishna Singh said | July 9th 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

            Langer greatest coach, took our WA to more 5 titles

    • Roar Guru

      July 9th 2018 @ 10:13am
      JamesH said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:13am | ! Report

      Our team selection left a lot to be desired. They fairly backed Short in (and were rewarded) but why was Wildermuth ever selected? What has he done in T20 cricket to deserve to be picked? And why is Jhye Richardson being given the nod ahead of Kane, who has actually shown consistency in this format? It’s like the selectors are just using this series as a chance to give a couple of guys some international experience instead of putting the best available team on the park (which surely would have featured Lynn).

      Also, while I rate Finch as a captain and he deserves credit for the Maxwell opening over, he made two big blunders. The first was giving Maxy two more overs (instead of quitting while he was ahead) and the second was failing to give Agar a chance to redeem himself after his poor first over. Surely the promising young spinner who has shown some real maturity over the past 6 months deserves a bit of faith?

      • July 9th 2018 @ 11:29am
        BrainsTrust said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

        Finch should not have given maxy two more overs and agar should have been give a chance by finch to redeem himself. I think ronan had a article ready to praise finch’s captaincy when pakistani were 3 down for very little but he would have had to discard that article lol.

        • July 9th 2018 @ 11:55am
          Krishna Singh said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

          Thats why i say make mitch marsh captain in all formats

          • Roar Guru

            July 9th 2018 @ 4:32pm
            JamesH said | July 9th 2018 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

            Marsh hasn’t really earned a spot in the T20 side yet.

        • July 9th 2018 @ 12:11pm
          BrainsTrust said | July 9th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

          Also whats going on, when smith was captain maxi wasn’t bowling but head was, now with finch as skipper maxi is opening the balling and head didn’t bowl, clear favouritism by both captains here as both should be bowling

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