Australia’s ICC World T20 2021 triumph is a victory of old Australianism

Australia overcame the odds in grand style to win the ICC World T20 2021 and this victory is an echo of their resurgence in world cricket when they won the 1987 World Cup in India.

Australia managed to win the ICC World T20 2021 by beating New Zealand by eight wickets. (Image credit: ICC Twitter)

Glenn Maxwell reverse swept Tim Southee to third man. The ball went past the man at short third man. The excitement of the Australian players was palpable. Before the ball reached the field, they had rushed onto the field to celebrate. The three architects of Australia’s win, Josh Hazlewood, David Warner, and Mitchell Marsh all had their stories of resurgence and heartbreak. The emotions of the Australian players after the ICC World T20 win were palpable. For 14 years, this format and the title seemed to be their kryptonite.

But, on November 14 in Dubai, Australia finally overcame the jinx to join India, West Indies, and Sri Lanka to win all three major ICC limited-overs trophies. It is fitting that Australia would break the jinx of an ICC event in Asia. In 1987, they won the World Cup in India. In 2006, they won the ICC Champions Trophy in India. Now, after 14 years of trying, they finally won the ICC World T20.

The three players mentioned above, Hazlewood, Warner, and Marsh, were at the center of the win. Hazlewood took three wickets for 16 runs. Having missed the 2019 ICC World Cup due to injury, it was a fitting comeback for Hazlewood. Warner, who was dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL and had questions raised over his form, attitude, and fitness, smashed another fifty and ended as the player of the tournament. Perhaps, the biggest story was Mitchell Marsh. His injuries in the last couple of years combined with inconsistency had raised plenty of doubts.

This situation had made Marsh remark that most of Australia hated him. He had hoped to win the hearts of the Australians back with a fantastic performance. Marsh finally delivered a performance that helped Australia complete the limited-overs set.

The win of old Australianism for Australia

“Australianism means single-minded determination to win – to win within the laws but, if necessary, to the last limit within them. It means where the ‘impossible’ is within the realm of what the human body can do, there are Australians who believe that they can do it – and who have succeeded often enough to make us wonder if anything is impossible to them. It means they have never lost a match – particularly a Test match – until the last run is scored or their last wicket down.”

This was the definition that noted journalist John Arlott wrote when he had to describe Sir Don Bradman’s Invincibles. The ICC World T20 2021 is a triumph of THAT Australianism. Before the tournament, they were not deemed to be the favorites at all. They had lost 15 out of 21 Twenty20 Internationals heading into the ICC World T20. The team had lost bilateral series to New Zealand, England, India, Bangladesh, and the West Indies.

They were placed in the Group of Death as well, with South Africa, West Indies, England, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh in the side. Australia had lost a series to four out of the five sides. In addition, there were murmurs of the team not being united. There were question marks raised on the coaching of Justin Langer. Australia was also plagued by player pullouts due to bio-bubble fatigue.

On top of that, Mitchell Marsh, David Warner, and most of the batting had not clicked. Matthew Wade had come out of the blue and there was immense criticism of his selection as there were other players like Alex Carey and Josh Inglis waiting in the wings. But, slowly, Australia was starting to come together as a unit.

Australia’s triumph in 2021 similar to 1987

The circumstances surrounding Australia’s triumph in 2021 is similar to the 1987 World Cup triumph in India. Prior to 1987, they had not won many series and games. Under Allan Border and with the discipline instilled under the managerial skills of Bob Simpson, Australia was turning the corner. In 1987, Australia had a team of players who could contribute at the right time. Craig McDermott, Mike Veletta, Steve Waugh, Allan Border, David Boon, Dean Jones were all individuals who could bring out their best in the big games.

In 2021, Australia’s T20 team had individuals who could contribute at vital times. Marcus Stoinis was the finisher, Warner on form was the X-factor while Mitchell Marsh was the key at three. The bowlers made a big difference. Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc were always going to be potent. But, it was the exploits of Adam Zampa which really aided Australia.

In these conditions, Zampa utilized the straight one and the googly to perfection. His economy rate in the whole tournament was 5.81. An average of 12 with 13 wickets made Zampa the main factor in their triumph. It is no surprise that coach Langer credited the team’s success to the brilliance of Zampa. “(Zampa) puts a smile on my face every time because he’s a little bit different. He’s a little bit hippie but he’s so competitive and so good in this form of the game. We see leg-spinners having an impact around the world and he’s doing that for Australia.”

The set is finally complete for Australia

The ICC World T20 triumph has now made Australia the all-round team. The women and the men are now currently the T20 champions. That means Mitchell Starc and Alyssa Healy are the ultimate power couple. Starc and Healy are perhaps the only husband-wife duo to be champions in cricket.

Australia’s rise to global domination has always begun with a triumph in Asia. With this win, they will now be hoping to regain their lost glory. For five different decades, Australia now has been champion in limited-overs cricket. The 1987 World Cup triumph, 1999, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2015, and now 2021 is proof of the brilliance of Australian cricket.

The way how players raise their A-game has been simply phenomenal in the finals. When Australia enters the final, it is like the players transform into superhumans capable of winning from any position. It is for this reason that Australia has lost only three World Cup and World T20 finals since 1975. But, one thing is for sure. Never write off Australia in any decade. The ICC World T20 2021 is proof.

Siddharth vishwanathan

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