On Monday 2 July, Aaron Finch smashed 68* off 33 balls in the win against Pakistan. But, chasing a small total, Australia needed just about half their overs. Then, on Tuesday against Zimbabwe, with no constraint of a total to chase and all 20 overs ahead of him, Finch upped the belligerence of his batting and tonked the ball to all quarters of the ground and beyond.
He made 172 off 76 balls, dominating the batting and lifting Australia to 229/2, breaking a slew of records in the process.
- His own competition
Finch’s 172 is the highest score in T20Is, breaking the record of 156 set by … Aaron Finch! Not only does he have two hundreds now, he has the top two scores in the format. The previous record had come in 2013 against England in Southampton and he’d taken 63 balls for it.
|Aaron Finch||172||76||16||10||Aus v Zim, Harare, 3 Jul 2018|
|Aaron Finch||156||63||11||14||Aus v Eng, Southampton, 29 Aug 2013|
|Glenn Maxwell||145*||65||14||9||Aus v SL, Pallekele, 6 Sep 2016|
|Evin Lewis||125*||62||6||12||WI v Ind, Kingston, 9 Jul 2017|
|Shane Watson||124*||71||10||6||Aus v Ind, Sydney, 31 Jan 2016|
This is also the second-highest score in all T20s, behind Chris Gayle’s 175* off 66 balls in the Indian Premier League 2013. Finch, as captain of the opposition, was on the receiving end of that one.
- A league of doubles
He is the second Australian after Glenn Maxwell to have two hundreds in the format. He joins Maxwell, Evin Lewis, Martin Guptill, Rohit Sharma, Brendon McCullum, Gayle and Colin Munro as the only batsmen to make two T20I centuries. Of them, Munro is the only one with three to his name.
The corresponding record for other formats in men’s cricket:
Tests – Charles Bannerman’s 165* was 67.34% of Australia’s 245 against England in 1877 in Melbourne ODIs – Viv Richards’s 189* was 69.48% of the Windies’ 272/9 against England in 1984, Manchester.
- The silent partner
Finch and D’Arcy Short added 223 for the first wicket. It is the first 200-run stand in T20I cricket.
|Aaron Finch, D’Arcy Short||223||1st||Aus v Zim, Harare, 3 Jul 2018|
|Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson||171*||1st||NZ v Pak, Hamilton, 17 Jan 2016|
|Graeme Smith, Loots Bosman||170||1st||SA v Eng, Centurion, 15 Nov 2009|
Last month, Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates added 182 for the first wicket in New Zealand Women’s T20I against South Africa Women at Taunton. The Australians went ahead of this record as the highest partnership for any wicket in all T20Is, men’s or women’s.
Short, though, was a bystander to the Finch show. When Finch got his 150, his partner was yet to reach 50.
- A leather chase
Finch’s innings included 16 fours and 10 sixes. Nobody has hit more boundaries in a T20I innings. In his previous record-breaking effort, he had struck 14 sixes and 11 fours.
- A captain’s knock
It was Finch’s third fifty in a row, and fourth consecutive one as captain.
Leadership seems to sit well with Finch: he averages 64.60 as skipper in 12 matches, as against 47.81 otherwise in T20Is.