The T20 World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand promises a fascinating final act to a tournament that has been the epitome of a slow burner, bursting into life with two dramatic semi-finals which produced a pair of breathtaking run chases.
Australia looked dead and buried when slipping to 96-5 in pursuit of 177 to win against Pakistan on Thursday, but first Marcus Stoinis and then Matthew Wade (41* from 17 balls) defied the odds and doubters to haul their side over the winning line.
Twenty-four hours earlier, New Zealand pulled off something even more remarkable when downing England in a thrilling finish in Abu Dubai. This time Daryl Mitchell was the hero as he carried his bat after James Neesham had turned a labouring chase on its head with a brutal 27 from only 11 balls.
This is the first time New Zealand have qualified for the T20 World Cup final. They earlier finished as the semi-finalists in 2007 and 2016. The Black Caps can win their second ICC trophy this year, having won the World Test Championship.
Meanwhile, Australia were the runners-up of the 2010 T20 WC. They humbled New Zealand in the final of the 2015 50-over World Cup.
New Zealand made it five successive T20i wins in a row by defeating England to reach the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final, chasing down 165 with an over to spare after a crucial knock of 72 not out by Daryl Mitchell alongside a brilliant cameo from middle-order hitter Jimmy Neesham, who blasted 27 from 11 balls.
The Black Caps will go into the final without batter and wicketkeeper Devon Conway, who broke his hand after proceeding to punch his bat immediately following his dismissal against England, so the likelihood is the Tim Seifert will be brought into the side as wicketkeeper.
Australia shocked previous unbeaten Pakistan in their semi-final, reaching their victory target of 177 with one over and five wickets remaining following a stunning display of hitting from middle-order batters Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade, after opener David Warner had set the tone with his 49.
With no injuries to report, captain Aaron Finch is expected to name the same starting XI for this final as they aim to secure their first-ever ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title.
NZ v AUS: Match Details
● Date – Sunday, November 14, 2021
● Time – 7:30 PM IST
● Venue – Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
Dubai Pitch Report
The pitch at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium favours batsmen, especially the chasing team because of the dew. We have seen the latest example in the match between Australia and Pakistan. The Aussies chase down a target of over 170 even after losing 5 wickets for 96 runs. And that too without losing any further wickets.
Head to Head Record
The two sides have met 14 times in T20I cricket, with Australia leading the head-to-head series 9-5 (includes NZ’s Super Over win).
Earlier this year, New Zealand beat Australia 3-2 in the five-match T20I series at home.
As far as the T20 World Cup is concerned, the two sides have clashed only once. The Black Caps won in the 2016 edition by eight runs.
NZ v AUS Probable Playing XI:
New Zealand – Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson (c), Tim Seifert(wk), Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult
Australia – David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
NZ v AUS Fantasy Team Analysis & Prediction
● Wicket Keeper
In the semi-final against Pakistan, he made his presence felt with an astonishing finishing touch. Wade would be a popular choice because of that knock.
Mitchell Marsh is scoring runs consistently in this format and delivering a few useful overs with the ball. Similar is the case with James Neesham whose blistering knock in the semi-final against England brought his team to the final.
The openers have the best chance of scoring big runs. So, apart from David Warner and Martin Guptill, Aaron Finch and Daryl Mitchell would be the batsmen to pick.
Adam Zampa has been Australia’s best bowler in this tournament. Mitchell Starc’s contribution has also been crucial. Just like Zampa, Ish Sodhi has been picking up wickets consistently for New Zealand. Trent Boult would be hoping to wreak havoc in the opposition camp with the new ball.
Captain: David Warner
Vice-Captain: Martin Guptill
Wicketkeeper: Matthew Wade
Batters: David Warner, Martin Guptill, Aaron Finch, Daryl Mitchell
All-Rounders: Mitchell Marsh, James Neesham
Bowlers: Mitchell Starc, Trent Boult, Adam Zampa, Ish Sodhi
Both New Zealand and Australia have shown remarkable grit and professionalism in the World Cup. They beat favorites England and Pakistan in the semifinal too but having said all that Australia might just have that edge in the final because of their big match experience. New Zealand under Williamson will have to be at their absolute best against the Aussies.