By Wisden India staff in Mirpur
After match-winning hand against Bangladesh, Australia opener says team's ICC World Twenty20 campaign has been disappointing overall
Aaron Finch signed out of the ICC World Twenty20 2014 the same way he had begun the tournament, with a half-century, but where the first one against Pakistan hadn’t managed to see Australia home, the second one on Tuesday (April 1) evening, against Bangladesh, helped George Bailey’s men stack up a consolation win.
In a battle of already eliminated teams, Australia rode roughshod over Bangladesh, blasting past its opponent's 153 for 5 by reaching 158 for 3 with 15 deliveries in the bag. Finch, who led the charge with 71 off 45, was named the Man of the Match, but took little joy from that.
“It’s been very disappointing. To not make it through to the semi-final stage has been really disappointing from the team’s point of view,” he lamented. “We’ve let ourselves down in all three disciplines over the first couple of games. And in such a short format like this, that really comes back to haunt you quickly. When you have games back-to-back like this, momentum is really crucial. And we probably let that slip in the West Indies game (where Darren Sammy smashed back-to-back sixes for a last-over win). When we got to the India game, we were out of the tournament. We came here with hopes to win the competition and we’re going home with nothing.”
For the first time in the competition, Finch and David Warner fired in tandem at the start of the order, putting on 98 in only 68 deliveries to seal the deal. Finch admitted that the thought had crossed their minds that had they done better as a pair earlier on, the story might have been different yet. “Myself and Davey have both been very disappointing in this tournament as a partnership. What makes it even more disappointing is that it took until the final game to have a big partnership, and to be out of the tournament already,” admitted Finch. “To not be able to progress and then provide a good start for the side was very disappointing and something that is frustrating. We’ve both come here with high expectations of each other and ourselves. I don’t think we played particularly well in the first three games and that’s ok, in such a short format you have to rely on your openers heavily and we didn’t do that. So we take a lot of responsibility.”
Finch pointed at Glenn Maxwell's batting when he was asked if Australia had any positives to take away from this tournament. “It’s been difficult,” he said, then after a bit of a paused added, “The way Glenn Maxwell’s played throughout the series has been phenomenal. (It’s) the way everyone knows he can play but this time, he took it to a new level. That’s a huge positive. The first game especially, I don’t think we could’ve played much worse and we still got pretty close to an outstanding team in Pakistan, who arguably have got the best bowling attack in the competition. I think there’s a few positives to take out, but by and large not a huge amount. We came here to win the tournament and anything less, we’re not happy with. To win one out of four has been very disappointing.”
Taskin Ahmed, the 18-year-old debutant paceman, gave a good account of himself early on, and Finch was quick to concede that Australia hadn’t been prepared for what came out of his hand. “He took us by surprise a little bit. He was quite fast. He bowled quite accurately in his first couple of overs,” said Finch. “It just skidded on a bit faster than we expected. He did take us a little bit by surprise, no doubt. Especially after facing six or seven overs of spin consistently, to go back into a guy bowling 140s is a bit of a challenge. He was very impressive in the game tonight.”
Teams that have played all along in Mirpur had the edge going into the knockout stages, Finch said. “I think whoever wins this game tonight, West Indies or Pakistan, will go a long way in the tournament,” he observed. “India have obviously been on fire with bat and ball, the way that their spinners are bowling and playing three spinners in these conditions. The teams coming from Chittagong have faced totally different conditions. The wickets have been very good there, there’s been a lot of dew. That will pose the biggest challenge for that group, the huge conditions changes. It’s pretty hard to go past India or Pakistan, the way they’ve been playing, at the moment.”