A clinical unbeaten knock from Mitchell Marsh (77 not out) along with a crucial half century by David Warner (53 off 38 balls) and a superlative spell by Josh Hazlewood (3/16) powered Australia to win their first Men’s T20 World Cup trophy, defeating New Zealand by eight wickets in the final at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday. Facing a target of 173, the biggest chase in a Men’s T20 World Cup final, Australia reached home with seven balls to spare.
This is Australia’s first victory in a format that eluded them for a long time. Hazlewood was the standout bowler as New Zealand made 172/4 in their 20 overs, thanks to Kane Williamson’s whirlwind 85 off 48 balls. Marsh and Warner put up a brilliant partnership of 92 runs after losing Aaron Finch early. After Warner fell, Marsh joined forces with Glenn Maxwell (28 not out off 18 balls) to take Australia home.
New Zealand shock England
New Zealand have avenged the loss of the 2019 World Cup final as they beat favourites England in the first semi-final T20 World Cup 2021 to reach their first-ever final of the tournament. Kane Williamson won the toss and chose to bowl first and their new-ball bowlers put England's new opening pair of Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow under pressure and didn't let them off the hook. Adam Milne removed Bairstow and New Zealand's Ish Sodhi accounted for England's Buttler. However, a six off Tim Southee and Moeen Ali unleashing himself against Ish Sodhi meant England got the push they needed. A couple of lusty blows from Liam Livingstone and Moeen getting to a half-century helped England get to 166.
The Kiwis, however, got off to the worst start losing two of their main batters in Martin Guptill and skipper Kane Williamson cheaply. The rebuilding phase got extended for a little longer than they would have hoped for but Daryl Mitchell and Devon Conway ensured that they stuck at the wicket.
Aussies beat Pakistan
The never-say-die attitude of Australia, coupled with some shoddy fielding by Pakistan saw to it that Aaron Finch’s men book a berth in the final against New Zealand. Australia still needed 20 off 10 and Shaheen Afridi was looking to work his magic at the death. It was at this point that a mistimed pull off Matthew Wade was put down by Hasan Ali at deep square-leg and immediately the Pakistan knew the game was slipping away. And then followed the final onslaught by Wade -three consecutive sixes off Afridi and Australia won with an over to spare.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam would feel bitterly disappointed because they had the game virtually covered till the 16th over of the Australian innings. Chasing 175, Australia had dug themselves into a hole but it was at this point that the grit and the experience of Wade and Marcus Stoinis took over. They followed the basic principle of T20 cricket that if there are wickets in hand at the death, the game is always on.