Grant Elliot, best remembered for the six he hit to take New Zealand into the 2015 World Cup final, believes the Kiwis need to identify the right moments and capitalize on them to beat Australia in Sunday’s T20 World Cup 2021 final in Dubai.
After finishing just short in the last two ICC ODI World Cups, the Kiwis will be desperate to end their drought in the ICC limited-overs tournaments despite their supremacy in the longest format.
Ahead of the all-important clash, Elliot stressed the Black Cap batters need to fancy their chances in the death overs to put up a big total on the board. Speaking to The Telegraph, Grant Elliot said:
“T20 is all about the feel on the day. Sometimes players just have a bad day, and it’s about identifying that moment and the situation, and then capitalising on it."
“As we have seen on these (UAE) wickets, you need to get yourself in before launching (on the rival bowlers). So maybe targeting the bowlers at the backend should be the strategy New Zealand might look at," he added.
Incidentally, Australian bowlers have given away 9.55 runs per over in death overs in this tournament so far. The Kiwi batters will hope to make the most out of the final 30 deliveries in the title decider.
Despite the glaring absence of Lockie Ferguson, New Zealand bowlers have performed as a unit. Trent Boult and Adam Milne have found some good pace with the new ball while veteran Tim Southee has brought his experience to the table in death overs.
Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who has nine wickets under his belt in the competition, has managed to contain the run-flow in the middle overs. While discussing the New Zealand bowling attack, Grant Elliot said:
“I think New Zealand won’t change much with regard to their bowling blueprint. It will be about assessing the conditions during the game, and adapting a game plan according to the situation. The pace of (Adam) Milne, spin of (Mitchell) Santner and (Ish) Sodhi as well as the accuracy of (Trent) Boult and (Tim) Southee will also be key."
Absence of Conway puts pressure on Phillips and New Zealand skipper Williamson: Grant Elliot
Heading into the final showdown, New Zealand will miss their regular wicket-keeper Devon Conway, who suffered a freak injury during the semi-final tie against England.
Grant Elliot believes Tim Seifert, who played the T20 World Cup opener against Pakistan, can slide into the middle-order if the Kiwis get off to a strong start.
“I think this puts more pressure on Phillips and Williamson. Conway is a fantastic player and being a left-hander who can rotate the strike while spinners are on also makes him invaluable," the 42-year-old former cricketer said.
“But at present, I see Tim Seifert sliding into the middle order, unless New Zealand lose a wicket in the first two overs. Maybe Seifert can then come in to try and get ahead of the game," Grant Elliot concluded.
Seifert, who has 36 T20Is under his belt, will be relishing the opportunity and and will hope to make the most of it on Sunday.