Proud of my team, says Finch

Australia's captain Aaron Finch said despite the semifinal exit, he is happy with his team's progress over the last 12 months. AFP

Seldom have we seen Australia being hammered in the manner they were by an inspired England in the second semifinal here on Thursday.

They were ordinary with the bat and even more dismal with the ball as the Englishmen handed them one of their biggest defeats at this stage. This was also Australia’s maiden semifinal loss in World Cup that denied them a shot at title they had annexed at home last time, beating New Zealand who had booked their place in the final with a win over India.  

While it was a disappointing end, not unlike India, for a team that finished second best in the league stage, Australia should be proud of their run to the knockouts which even their staunchest of supporters wouldn’t have expected. In a crisis following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year, they regrouped well to run a dominant campaign. The batting looked formidable with the return of David Warner and Steve Smith while the attack looked lethal. It was just a sad coincidence that both departments imploded on the same day in an equally horrific manner.

“In terms of where we were 12 months ago, obviously I think we have made a huge amount of progress,” said Aaron Finch after the defeat. “Really proud of everyone involved for how much hard work and how far we have come, but at the same time we came here today to win a semifinal and get ourselves into a position to win another World Cup." 

"So that was really disappointing how it ended, especially to put up probably one of our worst performances overall for the tournament. So that was really disappointing. But really proud of where we have come from and the gains that a lot of players have made over the last 12 months in particular,” he remarked.

Indeed, it was Australia’s worst match of the tournament. They were shot out for 223 and then a blistering 65-ball 85 (9x4, 4x6) by opener Jason Roy took England past the target with still 107 balls to spare.   

Mitchell Starc, the leading wicket-taker of the tournament, and Nathan Lyon came for some special treatment as they leaked 70 and 49 runs respectively in nine and five overs respectively.

“Probably not that high (rank in disappointments),” said paceman Pat Cummins later. “I'm annoyed and peeved at the moment but I'll wake up tomorrow and be proud of where we've come from. Last 12 months if you'd told us we'd be in the semifinal, come second in the group stage, we'd have been really happy. Knockout stages, it happens that you get beaten by the better team on the day. It's unfortunate but really proud of our tournament.”

 

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