David Warner turned 35 just a couple of weeks earlier. And yet as he shimmied down the track against Mohamed Hafeez to knock him off the park in the semifinal against Pakistan, one could swear this was a glitch in the matrix.
Because this was the Warner of 2009 who blasted the West Indies in his first ever ICC T20 World Cup game as 23-year-old young man. It was the same Warner of 2010 who smashed the Indian bowlers all over the park as a 24-year-old in the 3rd T20 WC.
It was the Warner of 2012 who once again decided India were to be his sacrificial lamb in the 4th edition of the T20 World Cup. This was vintage Warner.
His 30-ball 49 might not have earned him the Man of the Match. Maybe, if he had not walked off the pitch despite the ultra-edge showing he did not in fact nick the ball to the keeper, he would have gotten it.
The way he was going, Warner could have gotten all the runs that needed to be gotten. His knock included 3 fours and 3 sixes. That is not the fascinating part here, albeit awe-inspiring. How many other 35-year-olds are capable of running 19 runs between the wickets?
David Warner - cool as ice, hot as fire
To have someone like Warner at the top of the lineup is a luxury any team would kill for. Very few batters are capable of soaking up pressure like Warner, and even fewer can release the pressure in a single over like him.
Take for example the game against Pakistan:
Chasing 177, Aaron Finch fell off his first ball. The first over, bowled by Shaheen Afridi went for just one run. The next over by Imad Wasim went for only 5 runs. By the time Wasim was back for the 4th over, Warner was 8 runs off 10 balls, the required rate already close to 10 an over.
What does Warner do?
The second ball gets swatted over deep mid-wicket for a six. The next ball is powered through the offside, with the two players outside the ring on the leg side. Imad Wasim changes the angle for the fourth ball but that is exactly what Warner wanted him to do, and this is lifted over short fine.
With the pressure relieved, Warner did the smart thing and rotated the strike for the next couple of overs. Moreover, with Marsh being the aggressor, there was really no need for Warner to expose himself as well.
But what happens after Marsh gets out? Before Pakistan can mount the pressure, Warner releases it from the other end. The first ball of the seventh over, bowled by Mohammad Hafeez is a doozy - a ball that he lost control of. It bounces twice before making its way to the Australian - officially a no ball - and Warner makes full use of that.
He moves wide to his right until he is all but out of the width of the crease and swats it for a six. With that over taken care of, he goes back to singles for the rest of the over.
The first ball of the next over meets the same feat, but this time instead of making use of the bowler's mistake Warner makes use of his delicious footwork. He comes down the track on picking up Shadab Khan's leg break and lofts him over long-on.
Eventually, he fell to the third ball in the over. Legally, at least.
But for as long as Warner was on the pitch again, the required rate never went past 10. What more can you ask of your opener in a crucial knockout game?
In the final against New Zealand, if Warner could make 84 runs or more, he would beat Virat Kohli's record of 319 in a single ICC T20 tournament. If it were anyone else, this wouldn't even be taken under consideration.
84 runs in a single match? That too in the final? No way.
But for Warner? 84 is just one more challenge. If any batter in the world can get 84 runs to beat a record, it is David Warner. Oh, sorry SRH fans.
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Q. Should David Warner have been awarded the Man of the Match?
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