Kane Williamson’s New Zealand eye a second global crown in a single year when they take on Australia in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final that will witness a new winner on Sunday.
New Zealand and Australia renew their trans-Tasman rivalry in Dubai as both teams look to clinch their first world title in the shortest format of the men’s game. Sunday’s clash will bring back memories of the 2015 50-over final when Australia beat New Zealand by seven wickets to clinch their fifth ODI World Cup.
It’s a hat-trick of ICC finals for New Zealand, the once perennial underdogs of world cricket after they outplayed India to win the inaugural Test championship in June. They beat favourites England in the semi-final to avenge their 2019 defeat in a dramatic 50-over World Cup final at Lord’s when they went down on boundary count after a Super Over.
Head coach Gary Stead said the Black Caps are excited to take on the Australian challenge in what will be their first ever T20 World Cup final appearance.
“That’s probably a final that I’m not sure too many people would have predicted a month or so ago, Australia and New Zealand,” said Stead.
The Kiwis though have suffered an injury blow after wicketkeeper Devon Conway was ruled out following a broken hand when he punched his bat on his dismissal in the semi-final. Jimmy Neesham played a key part in the team’s semi-final win over England as he hit 27 off 11 balls to turn the game on its head and win with an over to spare.
“I am sure there will be a bigger outpour of emotion if we manage to get across the line,” he said.
AUS vs NZ H2H in men's T20Is
AUS vs NZ at Men's T20 World Cup
|18 Mar 2016
Aaron Finch’s Australians beat title favourites Pakistan by five wickets in the second semi-final.
“They’ve got a bunch of guys who are real match winners,” said Stead. “And we’re going to have to make sure that our planning, out scouting is right on point and we’ve got really clear plans for their players because they can like rip a game open pretty quickly.”
Australia were in trouble at 96-5 while chasing 177 on Thursday when Marcus Stoinis (40) and Matthew Wade (41) put on an unbeaten partnership of 82 and win by an over to spare.
Wade smashed Pakistan pace ace Shaheen Shah Afridi for three straight sixes including two audacious scoop shots - the final one sailing over fine leg to silence the Pakistan crowd.
Stoinis said a T20 World Cup title will “mean a bloody lot to us.”
“Obviously Test cricket and the Ashes, that’s what we grew up when we played. Then the transformation of T20 cricket. It’s not a hit and a giggle anymore in terms of the pressure,” said Stoinis.
“I don’t think many people gave us a chance leading into this tournament apart from the players and coaching staff. So it’s definitely going to mean a bloody lot to us and we will be super proud when we bring that home to Australia.”
Coach Justin Langer said: “We have got such a rich history and it’ll be nice to add this piece to the puzzle.”
Key will be the form of opener David Warner who has plundered 236 runs at the tournament.
Langer lauded the Black Caps for their brand of cricket and said the Aussies will have to bring their best for a first title.
“The way New Zealand have gone about their business for the last few years has been outstanding,” said Langer.
“They are a really good bunch of blokes. They get on with the job and get it done. We have to be at our best like we have been throughout this tournament to beat New Zealand.”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson: “Probably not too many advantages to either side except that we do play each other and have done so recently on a number of occasions and had some really good contests. You know, it’s great that obviously we’re playing our neighbor on the other side of the world in a World Cup Final. You know, a really exciting prospect for both teams.”
Australia captain Aaron Finch: “Everyone had written us off but we had a lot of confidence within. We’re really confident the way that we were preparing, the way that our strategy was coming together. Yeah, I think it hasn’t defied expectation. I think we came here with a really clear plan to win the tournament, and we still feel as though we’ve got the squad to do that.”
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade (w), David Warner, Adam Zampa.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson (c), Tim Seifert (w), Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Todd Astle, Kyle Jamieson, Mark Chapman.
Top scorer at 2021 T20 World Cup: David Warner - 236
Top wicket taker at 2021 T20 World Cup: Adam Zampa - 12
Path to final
bt South Africa by 5 wickets
bt Sri Lanka by 7 wickets
lost to England by 8 wickets
bt Bangladesh by 8 wickets
bt West Indies by 8 wickets
bt Pakistan by 5 wickets
Top scorer at 2021 T20 World Cup: Daryl Mitchell - 197
Top wicket taker at 2021 T20 World Cup: Trent Boult - 11
Path to final
lost to Pakistan by 5 wickets
bt India by 8 wickets
bt Scotland by 16 runs
bt Namibia by 52 runs
bt Afghanistan by 8 wickets
bt England by 5 wickets
With AFP, ICC and ESPNCricinfo inputs