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World Cup has provided a balance between bat and ball: Finch

Birmingham: Australian captain Aaron Finch says this World Cup has been "outstanding" and has reinforced how important it is to have a strong contest between bat and ball.

The pre-tournament chat had been that batsmen would dominate on the flat English pitches and small grounds and scores of 400 or more could be expected. But that has been far from the case, with only four scores above 350 and none above 400.



Heading into the semi-final between England and Australia, the host nation had compiled the two biggest totals – 6-397 against Afghanistan and 6-386 against Bangladesh. Australia's 4-381 against Bangladesh had been the third best.

While still a ratings juggernaut, and crucial for cricketing broadcasters, one-day international cricket has slipped in the eyes of many in world cricket since the emergence – and then explosion – of Twenty20 cricket. It faces even more competition now with England's The Hundred competition starting this month.

Flat and docile decks have ruined bowlers and not helped 50-over cricket in recent years but this World Cup has provided a variety of pitches that have, at times, even been questioned by an England side accustomed to lifeless "roads".

Finch said this World Cup had reinforced the importance of an even contest that provided entertaining cricket.

"The tournament has been outstanding the way that it's gone. There have been a lot of games that have gone really deep," he said.

"There's been a few one-sided games but that happens when you play so many games of cricket. But, all in all, the standard of the cricket has been outstanding.

"The combination or the contest between bat and ball has probably brought it back to what we have seen during the last four years, which has been a real dominance by the bat but that's been a great part of the tournament in my opinion that everyone's had an opportunity to dominate at some point.

"I know the fans want to see huge scores and lots of boundaries, lots of sixes … but I find the most entertaining games are those 240, 260 games when there is a bit in the wicket for everyone. If you bowl well, you get rewarded. If you bat well and get through them periods, you equally get rewarded. So I think it's shown what a really good contest between bat and ball can do."

That was reinforced in the rain-marred first semi-final when, on a tricky deck in Manchester, New Zealand edged their way to 8-239, with India falling 18 runs short.

Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson said he had initially expected a higher scoring affair but the conditions impacted on this. What eventuated was arguably the most enthralling clash of the tournament.

The conditions in England have also forced nations to adjust pre-tournament plans, which have ensured entertaining cricket. Where it was thought wrist spin was going to dominate, that's been far from the case.

The next World Cup, in 2023, will be held in India where there will be the potential of flat wickets, although spin should be a factor. It could be in that tournament, with cricket's arms race ever growing, that scores of 400 may regularly be seen.

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