Warne’s golden boy hits horror low
Marcus Stoinis's horror World Cup campaign with the bat sunk to a grim new low as he failed just when Australia needed him most.
The all-rounder was trapped LBW by an Adil Rashid wrong'un for a second-ball duck in the semi-final loss to England in Birmingham, meaning Australia went from 3/117 to 5/118 after the departure of Alex Carey for 46 earlier in the over.
Stoinis came in at No. 6, but couldn't make the most of his opportunity and finished the tournament with a highest score of 22 from seven innings.
It was a terrible return for a player Shane Warne has regularly spruiked as a potential Test star, and who Ricky Ponting spoke highly of earlier in the World Cup because of the package he offers with the bat, ball and in the field.
Early in 2018 Warne said he believed Stoinis would be representing Australia in all three formats by the end of the year.
Before the start of last summer the Spin King had Stoinis in his XI for the first Test against India and then again in January reiterated his belief the West Australian's inclusion in the Test side would be a positive if he reached his potential.
But Stoinis will have enough worries about holding on to his spot in the ODI side, let alone contemplating any Test ambitions.
The right-hander scored just 87 runs at an average of 14.5 in the UK. While he was run out twice and there were situations where he fell with quick runs needed, his output still fell well short of what was expected.
The top order did a lot of the heavy lifting for Australia in the World Cup and David Warner and Aaron Finch finished as the team's leading runscorers. But when the middle-order was called upon to stand up and contribute, too often it failed.
Finch was asked about the middle-order woes after the semi-final but steered clear of blaming any of his batsmen.
"I think a lot of teams have been in a similar boat. I think most of the time opening the batting has been the easiest place, so not to be today for myself and Dave and Pete (Handscomb) at No. 4," Finch said.
"It was tough conditions at the start. England bowled very well. We just needed to find a way through that period to really set a platform for the middle overs."
Stoinis wasn't alone in his batting woes as Glenn Maxwell also had an underwhelming World Cup as the enigmatic all-rounder left with 177 runs, averaging 22.1.
He had no trouble finding the boundary - and clearing it - but apart from an unbeaten 46 against Sri Lanka at The Oval, his innings had plenty of sparkle but not enough substance.
There were calls for Maxwell to be promoted up the order early in the tournament, with some pundits believing he wasn't being given enough time in the middle to do the damage he's capable of. But when he was given the chance to bat time, he couldn't rise to the occasion.
The Victorian was dismissed for a duck when the Aussie top order crumbled against the West Indies, made 12 when he entered the action with 15 overs to go against England at Lord's in the group stage, then scored one and 12 when given ample time to build innings against New Zealand and South Africa.
Maxwell made some handy contributions with the ball but didn't deliver with the bat - a reality Finch acknowledged.
"I thought he started off really well and got us into some really good positions with - even the game against India where he started to build some real momentum," Maxwell said.
"Again, probably a few starts here and there and probably not like he has done in the past gone on and got the really match-winning contribution where he takes games away from opposition so quick.
"But with the ball, I know he didn't get any wickets but he was reasonably economical when he bowled and did that in some really tough places, so I know that he's disappointed. International cricket is very hard."