Record-breaking knock from Stoinis in a partnership of extraordinary contrasts
THE GOOD: Stunning Stoinis - 59* from 18 balls
“Ronnie (coach Andrew McDonald) said if I feel comfortable then have a go at the spinners,” Stoinis said as he collected his ICC Player of the Match award. And he certainly did have a go at the spinners.
The all-rounder struck six maximums in his unbeaten 59* from just 18 balls, and he reached his half-century in just 17 of those deliveries, one better than Glenn Maxwell’s previous Aussie record for the fastest 50.
Only four players from Test-playing nations have scored quicker T20I fifties - England's Moeen Ali, West Indies' Shai Hope, New Zealand's Colin Munro and India's Yuvraj Singh.
And such a display of power-hitting also places Stoinis joint-second on the all-time list for fastest fifties at a Men's T20 World Cup. The Australian is tied with Netherlands' Stephan Myburgh, who hit his 17-ball effort against Ireland in 2014. India's Yuvraj still holds the record for the fast T20 World Cup fifty and fastest ever T20 fifty, bringing up his milestone off just 12 deliveries against England in 2007.
Stoinis hit three consecutive boundaries off Wanindu Hasaranga’s 15th over, taking 18 of the 19 runs to come from those six deliveries.
And he followed it up with 19 of the 20 runs to come from the 16th and Maheesh Theekshana’s off-spin, with Stoinis’ third six of the over taking him to his 50 in style.
“Once I got in the plan was to keep going,” Stoinis added. “Honestly I was a bit nervous today, playing at home with a lot of family in.
“We wrapped this game up and we look forward to playing the English at MCG.”
With Stoinis in this sort of form, Glenn Maxwell hitting 23 from 12 and neither Tim David or Matthew Wade even used in the chase, middle-order power is not an issue for the tournament hosts as they chase a place in the semi-finals. But the same cannot be said of all of the top-order…
THE NOT-SO-GOOD: Frustrated Finch - 31* from 42 balls
“Oh my god,” screamed Aaron Finch into the night sky in Perth as he plinked yet another miscue into the infield for a single, a shot that was accompanied by groans of sympathy and frustration from the crowd.
The Australian opener was still out in the middle to hit the winning runs in the chase of 158/3, but it had been a tough evening for the skipper, who finished on 31* from 42 deliveries.
Finch hit just a single boundary in his innings and not for the lack of trying, almost swinging himself off his feet on numerous occasions but rarely making decent contact.
“My innings was unusual, it was poor, I just couldn’t hit the ball,” Finch acknowledged after the match. "We knew the first four or five overs with the ball (were key), especially with Kumara nipping it around.
"It was seaming a long way there - so if we could get through that none or one down then it was going to be really important to set up the back end of the innings.
“It would have been nice if I could have kicked on and made that chase a bit easier.”
The Australian captain’s strike rate of 73.80 put a little pressure on his middle order, especially after both David Warner (11 from 10) and Mitchell Marsh (18 from 17) had also failed to light the touchpaper.
But discussions over Finch’s position at the top of the order will wait for another day after Maxwell and Stoinis turned on the style to make up for lost time and chase down the target with ease.
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