Cometh the moment, cometh the Marsh.
Mitch Marsh underlined his status as a clinical match-winner and one of the cleanest strikers in world cricket, pummelling New Zealand to help Australia romp to victory in the T20 World Cup final and grab the one trophy that had eluded them.
Marsh romped to a half-century off just 31 balls – the fastest in a final – in a brutal display of power hitting en route to finishing unbeaten on 77 off 50 as his team chased down their target of 173 with seven deliveries to spare.
It marked a fairytale ending for the West Aussie, who was dropped earlier in the tournament before regaining his place and securing Player of the Match honours in the final.
An emotional Marsh slumped to his knees as the Australian players celebrated, with the result also significant for coach Justin Langer amid some public pressure earlier this year.
Langer said a “fun” approach had been the key to the squad gelling.
“These guys had so much fun on and off the ground … that was a really important part of our success,” Langer said.
“This is such a special group of people.”
For the sometimes maligned Marsh, the result was vindication after half-joking two years ago he’d love to win the public over.
“That comment a couple of years ago was a bit of tongue-in-cheek and obviously it went a long way at the time,” he said.
“But hopefully Australians are proud of me and proud of this amazing cricket team.”
Marsh came to the crease with Australia at 1-15 in pursuit of a competitive target of 173, and immediately went about wresting control of the contest.
The 30-year-old smashed Adam Milne for a square-leg six off his first delivery and followed up with consecutive fours in a sign of what was to come.
By the time he was done dispatching the attack to all parts of the ground, Marsh had lofted four sixes and added six fours to crush New Zealand’s hopes.
Marsh was ably assisted by David Warner, who capped a brilliant finish to the tournament by blazing 53 off 38 balls. The pair shared in a 92-run partnership to take the game away from the Kiwis.
Earlier, Australia had been briefly left to rue a crucial dropped catch after Kane Williamson helped New Zealand recover from a slow opening.
Williamson plundered 85 from just 48 balls in the finest knock of his T20 career, setting up the biggest total of any team in a final after a sluggish start.
Mitchell Starc, in particular, copped the treatment, going for 0-60 from his four overs, as eight of Williamson’s 13 boundaries came off the left-armer.
But it was only after a costly drop from Josh Hazlewood that Starc went the distance.
The New Zealand captain was on 17 off 20 balls when he hit a low full-toss from Mitchell Starc straight to Hazlewood at fine leg.
The paceman spilled the chance, it went for four and then Williamson sent the next two balls to the boundary and the over went for 19. Another Starc over later in the innings also went for 22.
Sitting at 1-61 at the time of the missed chance, New Zealand scored 111 from the remaining 57 balls to momentarily turn the match.
But it was ultimately in vain as Australia’s batsmen made the total look far too small.
– with AAP