44 matches and nearly one month later, we have our two
finalists for the 2021 T20 World Cup as Australia take on New Zealand in a
Trans-Tasman clash for the title. Both teams secured their spots in the final
following two thrilling run-chases in the semi-finals and will be gunning for
their first-ever T20 World Cup title in Sunday’s encounter in Dubai.
Kane Williamson’s New Zealand have been the most consistent
team in world cricket over the past few years, having reached their third
consecutive final in ICC events after the 2019 ODI World Cup and World Test
Championship earlier this year. The Kiwis lost their opening encounter of this
competition against Pakistan, but followed that up with five straight victories
– including statement wins over the favourites India and England – to reach
their maiden T20 World Cup final.
Australia began their competition with a final-over run
chase win over the Proteas and qualified for the final four because of their
marginally superior net run rate. In the semi-final against Pakistan, the pair
of Stoinis and Wade combined in a run-chase for the second time in the
tournament to see Australia over the line in dramatic fashion and send them to
their first final since the 2010 edition in the Caribbean.
Player to watch out for
David Warner has been back to his best in this World Cup
after a disappointing season in the IPL, and the opener has played a vital part
in Australia’s run to the final, scoring 236 runs at a strike rate of 148.
Warner scored two half-centuries in the Super 12s and an important 49 in the
semi-final against Pakistan, and the left-hander will play a crucial role in
the final in negating the spin threat of left armer Mitchell Santner and
leg-spinner Ish Sodhi in the middle overs.
The Kiwi pacer has been magnificent for New Zealand in the
tournament and is the highest wicket-taker amongst pacers in this World Cup
with 11 scalps. Boult has also been equally economical with the new ball and at
the death, and the Blackcaps will need the left-armer to recreate Shaheen
Afridi’s heroics from the semi-final against Australia and make some early
breakthroughs in the powerplay.
Australia are likely to stick with the same combination that
beat Pakistan for Sunday’s final, while New Zealand are forced to make a change
due to the bizarre injury to Devon Conway. The Kiwi wicket-keeper suffered a
broken hand after hitting his own bat following his dismissal in the semi-final
and is likely to be replaced in the XI by Tim Seifert.
Australia: David Warner, Aaron
Finch, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew
Wade, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Daryl
Mitchell, Kane Williamson, Tim Seifert, Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell
Santner, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult