Birthday special: Aaron Finch – Ferocious power-hitter, under-rated captain

Born on 17th November 1986, Aaron Finch needed time to establish himself in the senior cricket. The Twenty20 format began to make Finch a superstar as he found success with Victoria in the Big Bash T20 competition. He showed the world what he is made of with his performances in the 2010 Champions League T20. Though his team Victoria crashed out in the group stage, Finch ended the tournament as 6th highest run-getter.

Finch aggregated 197 runs across four matches at a strike-rate close to 150. Soon he was drafted into the Australian T20I side but a year after his IPL debut with Rajasthan Royals. Finch got an IPL contract in 2010 due to his performances in 2009-10 Big Bash T20 where he was joint top run-getter alongside Kieron Pollard. While Finch’s place in the T20I side wasn’t secured yet, the Big Bash League provided the foundation for him to become a T20 Superstar.

The Superstar of T20I cricket:

Scoring 332 runs at an average of 66.4 including an unbeaten hundred in 2012-13 BBL made Aaron a regular in Australia’s T20I XI. The pocket-sized dynamite showed his destructive best when the Aussies faced England shortly after the Champions Trophy 2013. Finch smashed a world record 156 off just 63 balls by smashing a total of 14 sixes and 11 fours in Southampton. This happened only a couple of months after leading the Pune Warriors India in an IPL game where Chris Gayle scored a T20 record of 175*.

It seemed as if Finch was going to break Gayle’s record until he got out with another 16 balls left in the innings. The 156-run knock remained as the highest individual score in T20I history for another five years before Finch broke his own record by scoring 172 against Zimbabwe while leading the team. Finch was close to breaking Gayle’s record yet again as he needed four runs in three balls but ended up breaking his own stumps in desperation and was dismissed ‘hit wicket’.

The record 172-run knock truly made Aaron Finch a batting superstar in T20I cricket as he became the first player in the format to breach 900 rating points in ICC Player Rankings. By then, Finch stood as the backbone of the ODI team and became Australia’s ray of hope after the ball-tampering saga that put David Warner and Steve Smith out of the national team for a year. Captaincy was then handed to Finch who got the honour of leading the 5-time CWC champions Australia in the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

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