With very little to gain, and much more to lose, Australia escaped the embarrassment of a winless World Twenty20, securing a hollow seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in Tuesday’s dead rubber.
Having already accepted that their disastrous campaign, which started with three straight defeats, would likely rank as Australia’s worst performance in a major limited overs tournament George Bailey and his men did what little they could do to minimise the humiliation.
Had they lost to Bangladesh, Bailey knew what sort of reaction they would’ve received – even on the back of a glorious summer that saw them rise back up the Test rankings.
“It’s a little consolation,” Bailey, who had been left devastated after a catastrophic 73-run defeat to India on Sunday, said.
“It’s a hell of a lot better result than if it had gone the other way.” Australia made sure there were no hiccups in their final match, cantering to the 154-run target on the back of an entertaining 71 to powerful opener Aaron Finch, who starred in a 98-run opening stand with David Warner.
Australia secured the win with 15 balls to spare to silence the partisan Dhaka crowd and snap a three-game losing streak.
Finch, named man of the match, admitted it felt like a hollow victory.
“To not make it through to the semi-final stage has been really disappointing from the team’s point of view,” Finch said.
“We came here with hopes to win the competition and we’re going home with nothing.
“I think there’s a few positives to take out, but by and large not a huge amount.
“To win one out of four has been very disappointing.” For the first time all tournament Australia’s top order found some form, with Warner and Finch starting the run-chase in grand fashion.
But it begged the question – how far could Australia, the pre-tournament favourites, have progressed had the pair clicked into gear earlier? Warner (48 off 35) in particular has had a lacklustre fortnight, considering his tremendous output in the Ashes and in the victorious Test series in South Africa.
Finch, who scored 65 in the first-up loss to Pakistan, brought up his half century off 35 balls and muscled four sixes and seven fours in a 45-ball knock – before admitting the powerhouse opening partnership had failed to live up to their own hype.
“I think myself and Davey have both been very disappointing in this tournament as a partnership,” Finch said.
“What makes it even more disappointing is that it took until the final game to have a big partnership, (when Australia were) out of the tournament already.
“To not be able to progress and then provide a good start for the side was very disappointing and something that is frustrating.
“We’ve both come here with high expectations of each other and ourselves.
“I don’t think we played particularly well in the first three games in such a short format you have to rely on your openers heavily and we didn’t do that.
“So we take a lot of responsibility.”