A broad smile lit up David Warner’s face. His wide grin shone as bright as the Ring of Fire lights at the Dubai International Stadium after Australia won their first T20 World Cup. Warner won the Player of the Tournament award too. That’s why you can’t wipe the grin off his face.
For Warner, the last three weeks have been a vindication of his talent and determination. Coming into the World Cup on the back of a wretched form in the Indian Premier League, the Australian opener’s future was in doubt. He needed a good tournament to revive his career.
Fortunately, he had a captain who believed in him. Aaron Finch refused to believe that Warner’s best days are over. At the start of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, Finch was adamant that it was only a matter of time that Warner came good.
He was scratchy in the first game against South Africa, but a rasping square cut signalled that he is close to running into form. The Sri Lankan bowling offered the best route for Warner to find his touch. After the slump against England and Bangladesh, he was back at his best.
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The West Indies faced the full force of his flashing blade as Warner helped kill off the contest. And he was instrumental in launching the chase of Pakistan’s total in the semi-final. In the final against New Zealand too, he and Mitchell Marsh racked up 92 in 59 balls and that pretty much settled the destination of the World Cup.
The Dubai International Stadium offered two contrasting images of Warner. Last month, a runless Warner cut a forlorn figure as he sat in the stands waving the Sunrisers Hyderbad flag. That is a far cry from a beaming Warner who walked up to receive his winner’s medal on Sunday night.
Cricket has come a full circle for Warner. Why would he stop grinning?