Warner enjoys Dubai redemption as T20 World Cup's player of the tournament

Australia opener banished memories of his miserable IPL from a little over a month earlier

When David Warner was sat in the stands in Dubai five weeks ago waving a flag, some critics might have suggested it should have been a white one.

His form for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League had been so dire, he had lost the captaincy of the side to Kane Williamson. He had lost his place in the XI, and been jettisoned from the match day squad, too.

Because of rules over how many players from each side were allowed on site at each game, that meant watching some matches on TV from the team hotel.

By the end of the campaign, he had at least made it back as far as the team’s box at the Dubai International Stadium, from where he could maintain appearances by waving an orange Sunrisers flag.

Through it all was a feeling of foreboding. Warner has form for going off the rails in times of stress in the past. And still his IPL future remains unclear.

A little before that time, Australia’s T20 captain, Aaron Finch, made a call to the team’s coach, Justin Langer. During it, he says, he made a prediction.

“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 man of the tournament’,” Finch said.

“I thought Adam Zampa should have been man of the tournament personally. But [Warner] is a great player. He is one of the all-time great batters.

“He is a fighter. He is someone who, when his back is against the wall, that is when you get the very, very best of David Warner.

“It was a special, special tournament for him, especially the last couple of knocks.”

Finch’s suggestion that Warner excels in tough circumstances was evidenced in his end to the competition.

He made 89 not out in the must-win last pool match against West Indies, then a vital 49 against Pakistan in the semi-final.

In the final, he made 53 from 38 balls as Australia chased 173 to beat New Zealand with eight wickets to spare.

His effort in the final was trumped by Mitch Marsh, with whom he shared a telling alliance worth 92 for the second wicket.

Marsh was named player of the match for his 77 not out, which included the winning runs.

“[Marsh] is someone who loves a contest, loves a challenge, and we just backed him from the start,” Finch said.

“We committed to him batting No 3 for a long time, and he knew that. That is all you need sometimes, just a little bit of backing and some confidence from everybody else.

“I think it was the first ball he faced in the first practice game against New Zealand, which he also hit for six [as he did in the final].

“It showed the confidence he has, and the confidence we have in each other. It was brilliant.”

Team of the tournament

Updated: November 15th 2021, 6:53 AM
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