Aaron Finch's final ODI innings ends in brutal heartbreak

Aaron Finch waves to the crowd on the left, while the moment he is bowled is shown on the right.
Aaron Finch's final one-day innings ended in an anti-climax, with the Australian skipper bowled for five. Pictures: Getty Images/Fox Cricket

Australian cricket fans had been hoping Aaron Finch would retire on a high note in his last ODI, but his final innings sadly won't reflect his stunning career.

There was an outpouring of support for Finch after he announced would retire from the one-day game on Saturday, with Sunday's fixture against New Zealand his last game for Australia.

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Though he plans to play on in the upcoming T20 World Cup, Sunday's match had a bittersweet tone to it as fans acknowledged Finch's exceptional career.

Those hoping Finch could break through an extended batting slump were left disheartened though, as Kiwi quick Tim Southee beat Finch through the gate to clean bowl him for five after Australia won the toss and elected to bat in Cairns.

The crowd rose to a standing ovation as Finch departed, raising his bat one last time as he walked from the ground.

Finch also earned rousing tributes from cricket fans on social media, the outgoing captain's various contributions to Australian cricket well and truly acknowledged.

A World Cup winner, 54-cap skipper and master tactician, Finch departs 50-over cricket with 17 centuries, the fourth most in Australian cricket behind only Ricky Ponting, David Warner and Mark Waugh.

Finch said the time was right and came to his decision following their recent 2-1 series win over Zimbabwe.

But that didn't stop the emotions flowing when he told his squad.

"It was quite cool actually," Finch said with a glint in his eyes.

"Maxy (Glenn Maxwell) was in tears. It was quite funny.

"There was a lot of love I felt there, that was really cool.

"I don't usually get emotional. I maybe did slightly, but it was pretty cool."

His ODI average has taken a hit, struggling against Chevrons' left-arm paceman Richard Ngarava and more recently Trent Boult on difficult batting wickets in north Queensland.

Finch's leadership has also been crucial for CA in four years of chance.

As much as Tim Paine is credited for Australia's turnaround after the ball-tampering scandal, Finch found himself in an equally difficult position.

Australia's ODI team lost 11 of their first 13 matches after the drama, and the team was in ruins not long before 2019 World Cup.

Finch led the rebound, turning around his own form in coming back from 2-0 down to beat India 3-2 on foreign soil and Pakistan 5-0 in the UAE.

The opener labelled it as two of his proudest feats on Saturday, before Australia started that 2019 World Cup strong before exiting in the semi-finals.

Aaron Finch's legacy in Australian cricket secure

Ultimately, Finch will finish with a winning record of above 50 per cent with a 30-24 record as skipper headed into his final ODI against New Zealand in Cairns on Sunday.

Finch's job off the field was just as important.

With cricket in ruins, Finch's demeanour helped build back the reputation of the national team.

"Over the last couple of years I've probably got a lot calmer with my emotions and everything on the field," he said.

"When you put so much work in behind the scenes, at times it can look like you're potentially pulling a couple of moves out on the field.

"But you've already talked about it and spoken about it with the coach and other players.

"So I'd say I've just been calmer (as I've matured)."

After battling for form in 2022, Aaron Finch has announced he is retiring from one-day cricket. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
After battling for form in 2022, Aaron Finch has announced he is retiring from one-day cricket. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The 36-year-old had long made clear his plans to play through until the 2023 ODI World Cup.

But as his form dropped and a niggling shoulder problem started to set in, Finch realised in the past fortnight there would be no revival in his batting like there was before the 2019 tournament.

"I'm very, very confident that I wouldn't have made it that far just with my body and everything as well as a bit of form," Finch conceded on Saturday.

"I thought about it in the lead-up to the Zimbabwe series (starting last month).

"You need to be able to give the new captain as much space and time to start to ingrain that way that they want to play and take the team forward."

With AAP

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