Australia continued their domination over New Zealand in ICC knockouts, thumping the Kiwis by eight wickets in the T20 World Cup 2021 final in Dubai on Sunday. With the comprehensive win, they claimed their first T20 World Cup title.
Sent into bat after losing the toss, New Zealand put up a competitive 172 for 4 on the board courtesy a classy 48-ball 85 by skipper Kane Williamson. However, Mitchell Marsh (77* off 50) and David Warner (53 off 38) made light work of the chase as the Aussies raced to glory in 18.5 overs.
Australia got off to a mixed start in their chase of 173, reaching 43 for 1 at the the end of the powerplay. Warner got into his groove with a couple of crunchy boundaries off Tim Southee. However, Aaron Finch perished cheaply again. He was out for 5, top-edging a short ball from Trent Boult to deep square leg, where Daryl Mitchell took an impressive catch.
Marsh came in and smacked Adam Milne for 6,4,4. After launching a length ball over square leg for a maximum, he guided the next ball past third man. The third ball was slammed past mid-wicket as 15 came off the fourth over. Warner then swung a slower ball from Southee over midwicket for another six as Australia got some momentum going.
After a couple of boundary-less overs, Marsh swept left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner for a maximum over deep square leg. In the build-up to the final, leg-spinner Ish Sodhi was seen as a potential threat for Australia. However, Warner was at complete ease against him.
In the 9th over of the innings, he whacked the leggie for two fours and a six. After slapping a four past long-on, he pulled a short ball past deep backward square. The over ended with the Aussie southpaw lofting a full delivery over the bowler’s head for a maximum. Australia were 82 for 1 at the halfway stage, very much in control of the chase.
Immediately after the drinks break, Marsh dismissed a James Neesham short ball over the ropes at fine leg. Warner then brought up a 34-ball fifty by clubbing the Kiwi pacer over deep midwicket for another six. Boult gave New Zealand some hope by cleaning up Warner as the Australian opener missed his mighty heave across the line.
Following Warner’s exit, Marsh brought up his fifty off 31 balls by clubbing Sodhi over long-on for six. The Aussie all-rounder thus broke Williamson’s record for the fastest fifty in a T20 World Cup final. The New Zealand skipper had raced to a 32-ball half-century in the first innings. Another four followed in the Sodhi over which went for 16. Australia only needed 48 to win from the last six overs.
With no pressure of the asking rate, Glenn Maxwell came in and threw his bat around. He helped himself to an unbeaten 28 in 18 balls. The winning moment for Australia came when the Big Show reverse-swatted Southee for four, thus lifting the Aussies to their maiden T20 World Cup title.
Williamson’s brilliance lifts New Zealand to 172 for 4
Williamson played a captain’s knock of 85 from 48 balls as New Zealand put up 172 for 4 after being sent into bat by Australia. While Williamson stood out for New Zealand, Josh Hazlewood was brilliant with the ball for Australia, finishing with figures of 3 for 16. However, it was Hazlewood who dropped Williamson at fine leg when the Black Caps skipper was batting on 21.
New Zealand’s innings was a story of two halves. They struggled to get any momentum into their innings in the first 10 overs and were 57 for 1 at the halfway stage. Daryl Mitchell, the hero of New Zealand’s semi-final win, was back in the hut for 11, caught behind off a Hazlewood leg-cutter. Martin Guptill hung around for 35 balls but could not get any fluency into his innings. He perished for a painful 28, slogging Adam Zampa to deep midwicket.
Thankfully for New Zealand, Williamson got into his zone after a slow start. After being dropped off Mitchell Starc’s bowling in the 11th over, he punished the left-arm seamer for consecutive boundaries. The first four was smacked down the ground. The second came off a no-ball as Williamson managed to place a high full toss between long-on and deep midwicket.
In the 13th over bowled by Maxwell, the New Zealand skipper launched the off-spinner for consecutive sixes. After nailing a one-handed stroke over deep midwicket, he slog-swept the next over the ropes to bring up his fifty off 32 balls. Glenn Phillips chipped in by taking on Zampa and picking up a six and a four. The Kiwi batter lofted the Aussie leggie down the ground for a maximum and then chipped one over cover.
Williamson tore into an off-color Starc in the 16th over, which went for 22. The first two balls were edged behind the wickets as the Kiwi batter threw his willow at pitched-up deliveries. The third ball was bowled on Williamson’s legs and he smartly guided it over backward square leg for a maximum. Two more boundaries followed as Starc had forgettable figures of 0 for 50 after three overs.
Hazlewood did some damage control by sending back Phillips (18) and Williamson in the 18th over, just when New Zealand looked to up the ante. However, a couple of good strikes from Neesham and Tim Seifert ensured the Black Caps crossed the 170-run mark. New Zealand's total was the highest in a T20 World Cup final but was overhauled by Australia in their chase.
New Zealand vs Australia: Who won Player of the Match in yesterday's T20 World Cup 2021 final?
Marsh was outstanding for Australia with the bat. After the team lost Finch early in the chase, he came in and took the attack to New Zealand, putting them on the back foot. Warner delivered yet again, smashing a brilliant half-century.
Hazlewood was outstanding for the Aussies with the ball. He claimed 3 for 16, dismissing Mitchell, Williamson and Phillips.
For New Zealand, it was a one-man show with the bat as Williamson scored a sparkling 85. Boult was the only Kiwi bowler to make an impression on Australia’s batters with figures of 2 for 18.
Marsh was named Player of the Match for his spectacular innings in the final.
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