Australia’s quest for back-to-back T20 World Cups ended miserably, with the hosts failing to make it to the semi-finals and facing calls for a complete overhaul.
The tournament got off to the worst possible start with a beating at the hands of New Zealand, and despite tight wins over Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and a stellar win over Ireland, Australia failed to reach the final on a net run rate basis.
The mediocre performances from the aging Australian side had many former legends calling for some soul-searching and a rethink of how the nation approaches T20 International cricket.
Where it all started to go wrong: After sledding Trent Boult, David Warner (pictured) was next sacked for just five as Australia tried to break through at the hands of New Zealand in the T20 World Cup opener
“It’s disappointing for Australia to go out, but they weren’t good enough,” ex-tester Stuart Clark told the BBC.
“They’ll have a debriefing and a bit of soul searching.
“There are some guys who have been around for a while, and we need to find some younger guys. Cameron Green is the only player under 29,” Clark said.
It was a sentiment shared by many former players and top pundits, but English legend Michael Vaughan said it wasn’t just about age.
Cricket legends Stuart Clark and Michael Vaughan have both had a devastating effect on Australia’s performance at the T20 World Cup
The honorary Aussie believes this current side just isn’t ruthless enough.
“Australian sides from back in the day would have gotten at least 140, 150 against New Zealand and then Ireland would have blown away 80 or 90 (runs). They would have been ruthless,” he said Cricbuzz Live.
“That’s why I look at this group, I don’t think they are as brutal as some of the old (Australian) teams.
“I don’t see that with this Australian team. I think they are quite a fun team to play against,” said Vaughan.
Aaron Finch, who has been in poor form for the past year, had another disappointing tournament – will this be the last we see of him in an Australian jersey?
Being described as a ‘fun team to play against’ is pretty much the worst thing you can say about an Australian sports team, and there’s bound to be former representatives shaking their heads.
Clearly something needs to change when it comes to T20 cricket, be it at club, state or international level – but which players need to be moved and which players still have what it takes to contribute?
Here’s how Daily Mail Australia rated how all Aussie players and their performance throughout the tournament were rated.
Aaron Vink – 4.5
107 runs @ 53.5, stroke rate: 110.3, HS: 63 (three games)
The ultimate argument for not taking batting average at face value. His only good innings came against a weak Irish attack, but in the other two more critical encounters he could only hit a speed of 83. Not the best way to start an at bat. He’s been a great fighter for Australia, arguably one of our greatest T20 players – but his numbers are finally running out.
David Warner – 2
44 runs @ 11, strike rate 107.31, HS: 25. 3 catches (four games)
A disappointed David Warner leaves after being sacked for 3 against Ireland
Shocking tournament. Not only did he score virtually no points, his selection of shots showed poor leadership at a time when he continues to push to be reinstated as captain. Childish antics at Trent Boult in the opener were followed by being bowled for five, then bizarrely trying to play a right-handed cover drive against Afghanistan that was unnecessary and put the side under tremendous run-rate pressure. Not one for the memory bank.
Mitch Marsh – 6
106 runs @ 24.5, strike rate: 130.86, HS: 45.0 wickets @ 14.2 catches (four matches)
A nice tournament from Marsh without becoming world champion, in contrast to his stunning exploits in the last World Cup. He didn’t really bowl, which was a shame, but he did prove to be a consistent performer in the crucial first drop position. His 45 out of 30 in the crucial confrontation with Afghanistan was vital, but also stressed that he probably should have continued with the many starts he had.
Glenn Maxwell – 8
118 runs @ 39.33, stroke rate: 161.64, HS: 54*. 3 wickets @ 6.33, economy rate: 6, BB: 2/14. 2 catches (four games)
Glenn Maxwell, pictured celebrating a wicket against Ireland, was Australia’s best player in the tournament
Tight bowling probably earns him the nod to Marcus Stoinis for Australia’s best player at the tournament. Got a start with the bat in every game and didn’t waste a single ball as he hit 161. His 54 out of 32 in the last game was a match winning performance and probably should have thrown more given his effectiveness. Dynamite in the field as always.
Marcus Stoinis – 7.5
126 runs @ 42, stroke rate: 161.53, HS: 59*. 1 wicket @ 87, economy rate: 9.66 (four matches)
Kept the Aussie lineup together with Maxwell. His 59* out of 18 against Sri Lanka may have saved the game for his side, with his remarkable half-century coming from just 16 balls after six sixes and four limits. Like Maxwell, he wasn’t wasting any balls, and his clean percussion was a standout. Rotten with the ball in hand, just like a Jugs bowling machine.
Tim David – 5
26 runs @ 26, stroke rate: 144.44, HS: 15* (three games)
Much hyped ahead of the tournament thanks to his fairytale journey to the national side, David unfortunately didn’t get many chances and did nothing with the ones he did get. Had a nice mini cameo against Ireland though.
Matthew Wade – 2
15 runs @ 7.5, stroke rate: 100, HS: 7*. 2 catches, 1 stumping (four games)
Is this the last we see of Matt Wade in an Australian uniform? The wicketkeeper (pictured being bowled in the match against Afghanistan) managed just 15 runs before the tournament and is now 34
The last we’ll see of Matt Wade in an Aussie uniform. Like Finch, the 34-year-old warrior has been incredible for Australia over the years, but this tournament was not one of those times. Did its job with the gloves, but didn’t offer anything at number 7.
Mitchell Starc – 4
3 wickets @ 34, economy rate: 8.5, BB: 2/43 (three matches)
Controversially dropped for the final game against Afghanistan, Starc, like the rest of the so-called fast bowling cartel, was rather expensive. That said, he looked good against Sri Lanka and Ireland, and most believe the decision to drop him was wrong for Richardson. Always a threat.
Pat Cummins – 3.5
2 wickets @ 44, economy rate: 8.25, BB: 2/28. 3 catches (four games)
Pat Cummins, pictured after missing a runout against New Zealand, had a disappointing tournament with the ball
After all, he IS human. Not a great tournament for Cummins, who was completely beaten against New Zealand and Sri Lanka when he was needed most. Should he focus on Tests and 50-over cricket?
Adam Zampa – 7.5
5 wickets @ 16, economy rate: 6.66, BB: 2/19 (three matches)
Easily the choice of Australian bowlers. Had to miss a game due to illness, but was strong in the other three. Doesn’t offer the same wicket-taking threat as he did in the last World Cup, but was that because the teams were just content to see him leave with runs that were much easier to find against the quicks? A crucial cog.
Josh Hazlewood – 7
5 wickets @ 24.8, economy rate: 8.26, BB: 2/33. 1 catch (three matches)
Josh Hazlewood celebrates a wicket against Sri Lanka. The big fast was Australia’s most impressive fast bowler in the tournament
Hazlewood, the best of Australia’s three great speeds, was solid, but not spectacular. Coped with a beating in the first game against New Zealand, but recovered well and was much more stable for the rest of the tournament.
Cameron Green – 4
3 runs on 2 balls, 0/13 on 2 overs
Green was thrown in at the deep end for his first game of the tournament, taking Finch’s place against Afghanistan. It didn’t go well, but at least he sent some neat overs.
Steve Smith – 2
4 runs from 4 balls
Steve Smith makes an acrobatic attempt to stop a ball against Afghanistan – his only game before the tournament
Hit a limit and was out. LBW played a decidedly ugly shot at Naveen-ul-Haq against Sri Lanka – went as well as everyone (apart from the Aussie selectors, obviously) expected.
Kane Richardson – 2
1-48 out of 4 overs
Parachuted into the bowling line up instead of the axed Mitchell Starc, Richardson didn’t do well. McDonald said he was just “unhappy” after the game, but he has to put up with that. Was absolutely dried off… At least Starc is always a wicket-taking threat.
Ashton agar – 7.5
1-25 out of 4 overs
Played against Sri Lanka earlier in the tournament and looked very neat. A little surprising that he wasn’t playing more games, but the Aussies were clearly intent on picking their big gears. Turned out to be very hard to get out of.