After a lean trot with the bat in the lead-up to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, David Warner was not the first name to come to mind when Player of the Tournament predictions were made.
“Without a word of a lie, I promise you, I called Justin Langer a few months ago and said, ‘Don’t worry about Davey, he’ll be Player of the Tournament,'" Aaron Finch recalls.
“He’s one of the all-time great batters. And he’s a fighter."
Finch's faith in fellow opening batter David Warner never waivered. And with 289 runs at 48.17 and a strike rate of 146.70, it's fair to say Warner went above and beyond in repayment to his captain.
Crowned Player of the Tournament after a half-century in his team's drought-breaking ICC Men's T20 World Cup Final victory, Warner was back to his fearsome best in the UAE.
Punchy and busy at the crease, he controlled the early overs, asserting dominance over bowling attacks in his trademark style. Punishing anything too full or too short, and squeezing every run he could by challenging the fielders, Warner gave opposing captains little rest while answering his team's call.
Warner reached double figures in all but one innings at the T20 World Cup, passing fifty on three occasions during the campaign.
It was at the tournament's backend where Warner's presence was felt most, the time when players truly create their everlasting legacy. Calm in Australia's final three innings, Warner was headstrong in their successful chases. Making 89* (56) against the West Indies to lock in a knockout spot, Warner made 49 (30) in Australia's semi-final win over Pakistan, before a knock of 53 (38) to put Australia on top over their trans-Tasman rivals in the final.
A member of the squad to reach the 2010 T20 World Cup Final, Warner was run out by Michael Lumb for just two in the match's early moments, before watching England cruise to victory, lifting the trophy in Barbados.
With that defeat in the back of his mind, and the whispers around in regards to his form having been dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the month leading up to the World Cup, Warner felt working on his fundamentals would click him into gear.
"Being part of the World Cup Final against England (in 2010), that really hurt," Warner acknowledged after last night's win.
"I always felt really well.
"For me it was about going back to basics, getting on some hard, synthetic wickets in order to hit volumes of balls."
Warner pipped teammate Adam Zampa for the individual accolade, who mounted a strong case, taking 13 wickets, at an average of just 12.07, and going for 5.81 runs per over. Only Wanindu Hasaranga, who played in the tournament's First Round, claimed more scalps (16).
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