"They know how to turn it on when they need to" - Shane Watson applauds New Zealand ahead of T20 World Cup 2021 final

Daryl Mitchell (left) celebrates with Mitchell Santner after New Zealand’s semi-final win. Pic: Getty Images
Daryl Mitchell (left) celebrates with Mitchell Santner after New Zealand’s semi-final win. Pic: Getty Images

Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has termed New Zealand as a great team who play the underdog card very well. According to Watson, despite being favorites, Australia cannot take the Kiwis lightly even for a moment.

Trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand will meet in the T20 World Cup 2021 final in Dubai on Sunday. Australia overcame Pakistan in the semi-final, while New Zealand upset the other tournament favorites England.

Previewing the Australia-New Zealand final, Watson told t20worldcup.com that the Kiwis are no longer underdogs and are very aware of when to turn on the heat. He said:

“They play the underdog card really well. They’ve been such a great team for a long period of time. In big tournaments, New Zealand always play incredibly well. They just know how to turn it on when they need to. They try to fly under the radar but I think that time's gone.”

Serving a gentle warning to Australia, the former cricketer advised them not to give the Kiwis any opportunity to pounce upon. He elaborated:

“New Zealand never take the foot off the pedal, so there are questions going to be asked every moment of the 40 overs. The Australians have to be on their game every moment because that’s what the New Zealanders are waiting for. They are waiting for that little moment, that little opportunity to capitalize on it.”

New Zealand have never beaten Australia in an ICC knockout clash. The last time these two sides met in an ICC final was during the 2015 World Cup summit clash, when the Aussies crushed the Kiwis by seven wickets.

“They are good enough to win” - Simon Doull feels New Zealand are in with a genuine chance

Former New Zealand pacer Simon Doull admitted that Australia might have a slight edge going into the T20 World Cup 2021 final. However, he asserted that the present New Zealand side have a very good chance of winning the mega clash. Doull opined:

“New Zealand will have to be right on top of their game to beat this Australian side. They have peaked at the right time. They are a determined side. You could see that in some of their mannerisms in the semi-final. New Zealand are at their absolute peak and they are going to have to have a day out. They are capable. I wasn't a 100 percent sure at the start of the tournament but I have seen enough to know that they are good enough to win.”

Sunday's match against Australia will be New Zealand’s third straight ICC final. They finished runners-up in the 2019 World Cup before clinching the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) earlier this year.

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Edited by Sai Krishna
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