Australia’s Twenty20 World Cup defense was over on Saturday after longtime rivals England sent the hosts to a place in the semi-finals.
The outgoing champions won three, lost one and lost one as they finished third behind New Zealand and England in a close-knit Group 1.
AFP Sports looks at where things went wrong for the side touted along with England as favorites for the tournament.
Australia never really recovered from New Zealand’s thrashing of 89 runs in their opening game. It was the worst possible start.
The hosts’ bowlers took a slice as Devon Conway’s undefeated 92 took the Black Caps to 200-3 and avenged their loss to their neighbors in last year’s final. The hosts were bundled up for a paltry 111.
The large margin of defeat came back to haunt Australia. They dropped out of the tournament despite being tied on seven points with England and New Zealand – their much lower net run rate cost them a final four place finish.
Skipper Aaron Finch entered the tournament under pressure due to poor form with the bat.
He scored 13 in the first match and then a grueling unbeaten 31 in the next against Sri Lanka that nearly cost the team a win but before a Marcus Stoinis blitz.
Finch later called his 41-ball battle in Perth a “one-off” and soon made shape in his team’s win over Ireland with an attacking 63, but the knock came late.
He missed the final with a hamstring injury as Australia survived a late scare by Afghanistan in a thrilling four point win.
David Warner was Australia’s leading batsman with 289 runs in their first T20 World Cup triumph last year in the United Arab Emirates, but he inexplicably failed to shoot at home.
His scores of 5, 11, 3 and 25 reflected the team’s totals, with the top 179 against Ireland which was outside the league table.
The left-handed opener was bowled by Afghan pace bowler Naveen-ul-Haq after attempting a switch, and was trolled by England’s Barmy Army, which tweeted: “David Warner hits left-handed, hits right-handed and gets cleared.”
The Barmy Army was beaming again on Saturday, tweeting, “Let the tears begin.”
Whether it wasn’t enough to float Glenn Maxwell between five and six, even the opposition in Adelaide shocked Australian decision-making as bowler Mitchell Starc failed to set the pace in the XI.
They had to beat Afghanistan by a huge margin for a chance at the semi-finals and Starc’s replacement Kane Richardson leaked 48 runs from his four overs.
Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott said they were “surprised” by Starc’s omission and former Test captain Michael Clarke said: “I don’t get it.”
Maxwell, who hit a match-winning 54 against Afghanistan, would not be drawn on Starc, but said the hosts “have probably just missed big moments too many times”.
“Not starting the first game of the tournament so well probably hurt us too,” he added. “That probably goes without saying.”