Defending champions Australia were blasted as “mediocre” Sunday after they failed to make the T20 World Cup semi-finals, with local media calling for the fallout to be “fast and brutal”. Aaron Finch’s star-studded side entered the tournament confident of becoming the first back-to-back world champions, but it went horribly wrong from day one. A huge 89-run loss to New Zealand first-up and a washout against England took three points off their tally, and then they failed to fire up enough with the bat in their three victories.
They finished equal on seven points with England and New Zealand in Group 1 but were knocked out due to an inferior run rate.
It was only the fourth time in the past 30 years that Australia have not progressed into the semi-finals of a World Cup in any format.
“Although it was close in the end, truth be told, the Aussies never really deserved to make the semis,” wrote The Australian newspaper, calling their defence “shambolic”.
“The fallout to the team’s lacklustre efforts in a home World Cup should be fast and brutal to avoid it ever happening again.
“Serious questions will need to be asked about the team’s current leadership and future direction because their performances were not up to scratch.”
The Sydney Morning Herald said that regardless of England scraping past Sri Lanka on Saturday to dump out the hosts, “there was little to recommend Australia as a semi-finalist”.
“Stuttering victories over qualifiers Sri Lanka and Ireland and second tier nation Afghanistan are hardly the foundation for a World Cup defence, particularly when it was undermined on opening night by a dreadful loss to New Zealand,” it added.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph also piled on, saying their tournament “can be summed up with one word -– mediocrity”, adding that “the brutal truth is they didn’t deserve a semi-finals berth”.
Although the statistics are somewhat distorted because qualifiers played extra matches, no one from Australia set the tournament alight.
Marcus Stoinis was their top run scorer with 126, but only 16th overall, while none of the bowlers took more than five wickets, with Josh Hazlewood (31st) and Adam Zampa (32nd) the best of the bunch.
All-rounder Glenn Maxwell admitted they had not been good enough.
“We probably haven’t put the complete game together,” he said.
“There was a couple of games last year during the World Cup where we probably did I think — Bangladesh, West Indies and Sri Lanka we played the complete game, almost back-to-back.
“I don’t think we’ve got any batters in the top five or six or 10 run scorers,” he added.
“We haven’t probably got the higher wicket takers either, it feels like we’ve just been chipping away, bits and pieces here and there.”
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