New Zealand players celebrate a wicket against Australia

Said Khan

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Australia’s World Cup Twenty20 defense ended on Saturday after old rivals England propelled the hosts to a place in the semi-finals.

The outgoing champions won three, lost one and dropped a game to finish third behind New Zealand and England in a tight Group 1.

AFP Sports take a look at where it went wrong for the team who were touted as favorites ahead of the tournament with England.

Australia never quite recovered from being beaten by 89 points by New Zealand in their opening game. It was the worst start possible.

The hosts’ bowlers took a hit as Devon Conway’s unbeaten 92 took the Black Caps to 200-3 and avenged their loss to their neighbors in last year’s final. The hosts were grouped for a paltry 111.

The large margin of defeat has come back to haunt Australia. They pulled out of the tournament despite drawing seven points with England and New Zealand – their much lower net run rate costing them a place in the bottom four.

Skipper Aaron Finch entered the tournament under pressure due to poor batting form.

He scored 13 in the first game and then 31 unbeaten in the next against Sri Lanka, which almost cost the team a victory, but for a blitz from Marcus Stoinis.

Finch later called his 41-ball struggle in Perth “punctual” and quickly picked up shape in his side’s win over Ireland with a 63 attack, but the hit came late.

He missed the final game with a hamstring injury as Australia survived a late scare from Afghanistan in a tense four-point victory.

David Warner was Australia’s leading batsman with 289 points in his maiden T20 World Cup triumph last year in the United Arab Emirates, but he failed to shoot on home conditions.

His scores of 5, 11, 3 and 25 reflected on team totals, the highest being 179 against Ireland.

The left-handed opener was thrown by Afghan pace setter Naveen-ul-Haq after attempting a switch shot and was followed by England army Barmy, who tweeted: “David Warner thumping lefty thumping righty cleans up. “

The Barmy Army was jubilant again on Saturday, tweeting, “Let the tears begin.”

If keeping Glenn Maxwell floating between five and six wasn’t enough, Australia’s decision-making shocked even the opposition in Adelaide by not choosing pace setter Mitchell Starc in the XI.

They needed to win against Afghanistan by a huge margin for a shot in the semis and Starc’s replacement Kane Richardson dropped 48 runs from his four overs.

Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott said he was “surprised” at Starc’s omission and former Tests captain Michael Clarke said: “I don’t understand.”

Maxwell, who hit a game-winning 54 against Afghanistan, wouldn’t take a shot at Starc but said the hosts “missed big moments probably too often”.

“Starting the first match of the tournament not so well probably hurt us too,” he added. “It probably goes without saying.”

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