Sunil Gavaskar column: Australia know that New Zealand cannot be taken lightly

In Trent Boult (in picture), Tim Southee and Adam Milne, New Zealand have a formidable pace attack. (AFP)
In Trent Boult (in picture), Tim Southee and Adam Milne, New Zealand have a formidable pace attack. (AFP)

The Kiwis love the underdog tag as it allows them to focus on their game and they don't have to deal with the pressure of expectations



By Sunil Gavaskar

Published: Sun 14 Nov 2021, 9:00 AM

At the start of the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup, not many would have predicted a final between New Zealand and Australia. This would have been mainly because of cricketing reasons and not for any chauvinistic thinking.

Australia’s record so far in this format has not been as incredible as in the 50-over format and, in fact, they are yet to win this trophy, which they could well do so here. They know, of course, that New Zealand cannot be taken lightly as so many teams have found out, including England, in the semifinals.

New Zealand do not have superstar players and thus many followers tend to ignore their capabilities. The Kiwis also probably love the underdog tag as it allows them to focus on their game and they don’t have to deal with the pressure of expectations. Time and again, they have come up trumps, especially in the ICC events and, over the last seven or eight years, they have been the most regular side in the knockouts of the world events.

Make no mistake, they have game changers with both bat and ball and they are electric in the field. What’s most impressive is how they always seem to be in control of their emotions and so there is no outward show of feeling any pressure. In Kane Williamson, they have a batsman who has shown that its not necessary to muscle the ball to score at a good clip and, as a captain, he is one who leads from the front.

They will no doubt miss Devon Conway, who batted so well against England and whose left-handedness at the crease adds to the bowlers problems. Promoting Darryl Mitchell to the top of the order was a masterstroke.

Jimmy Neesham has shown what an all-rounder brings to the team and in Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Adam Milne, they have a new-ball attack to compare with the best.

Australia’s record in knockout events is awesome to say the least and they seem to have the momentum going for them after that magnificent win over Pakistan. As we saw in both the semifinals, the game can turn around in a matter of couple of overs so, it is not easy to predict the outcome.

Will Australia win their first ever ICC Twenty20 Trophy or will New Zealand add a second ICC title to their World Test Championship win earlier in the year? (TCM)


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