It is not often you see India get bullied these days, especially at home. But Aaron Finch and David Warner did that. They absolutely hammered and bullied the Indian bowling attack. Yes, it was the Australian pace attack that set up the game but the openers drove home the advantage and never gave India an inch.
Chasing 255 with more than 12 overs to spare and both of them doing it by themselves? Who would have bet that with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav in the Indian bowling attack, that would be possible? But that is exactly what panned out at Wankhede as the Finch-Warner duo schooled the Indian bowling attack and made a mockery of them.
It wasn’t the first time they’ve done it. The dashing opening pair have been winning games like it is nothing for a while now. Be it ODI cricket or T20Is, Finch and Warner have consistently piled on the runs. Despite a one-year hiatus in their partnership, they didn’t miss a beat.
While their partnership was a prominent one even before Warner’s ban, it has seen a big resurgence since his return. They’ve set a template to batting at the top of the order in white-ball cricket. Finch has been the aggressor at the top with Warner taking his time to settle in. This started in the World Cup last year and irrespective of it being 50-over or T20I cricket, it’s largely been the way Finch and Warner have operated since the start of the World Cup.
Often Finch goes bang at the top and Warner has been slightly more circumspect before Warner eventually catches up and makes up for his slowish start. And it’s worked beautifully for the Aussies. They invariably get a flying start and either one of the openers continues and goes on to get a big one.
And this isn’t just limited to ODI cricket. It’s the same in T20s as well. You take a look at the scorecards and you will find Finch ahead of Warner on most occasions and scoring at a much faster clip as well. But later, the left-hander comes back and it is Finch who takes a back seat and allows Warner to get back to his flow. After Warner’s return, it seemed like it was to ease him back into international cricket but it’s become a habit now.
Take this first ODI against India at the Wankhede for example. It was Finch who was in attacking mode first. He raced away to 31 off just 24 balls while Warner was still on 11 off 18. The latter might’ve overtaken his captain eventually but it’s been a norm that the Aussie opening pair have set. And the duo’s return together has helped Australia only go from strength to strength. In fact, it was one of the reasons why they did well in the World Cup as well.
Before the World Cup, Finch was at sea against the incoming deliveries. He was constantly found out but a decent series in India and a good one in the UAE helped him get back confidence and the return of Warner helped too. The Aussie skipper now seems to be a lot more confident facing the in-dippers against the new ball. He isn’t going into a shell as he used to and is a lot freer and is attacking a lot more as well. That’s helped his game quite a bit.
Meanwhile, Warner’s not going hell for leather like he used to. This is a slightly changed, matured and a different Warner. He’s taking his time to get his eye in. The consistency has gone up a notch as well. Not only for Warner, but also for Finch.
The duo are very similar in the way they bat as well. They love going after the bowling and their hunger to get big scores is remarkable. In fact, Warner has a conversion rate (from fifty to hundreds) of more than 47% in ODI cricket while Finch’s conversion rate is exactly 40%. Both of them feature in the top five of best conversion rates in the history of ODI cricket.
They simply enjoy batting with each other. The Finch-Warner duo have some fabulous numbers as well. Since the start of 2019, they have scored the most runs in partnerships across formats and mind you, they open (or rather bat) together only in the two white-ball formats. They’ve scored 1296 runs, which includes six hundred and four half-century partnerships. Only thrice have Australia lost a wicket for a single-digit score since the duo have returned to opening the batting. Two of those came in the World Cup while the other instance was in a T20I against Pakistan.
96, 15, 61, 146, 80, 121, 123, 15, 5, 4, 122, 1, 69, 41 (unbeaten), 30, 109 (unbeaten), 258 (unbeaten) – these are the opening partnerships for Finch and Warner since the start of the World Cup. These are some outstanding numbers and they are showing the world how it’s done at the top of the order. You take their individual numbers as well; they are simply brilliant. And it’s that template – of Finch going bang at the top with Warner taking it slow but solid, which started in the World Cup that’s been working.