T20 World Cup: Toss and Aussies too much for Kiwis to overcome

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson following the defeat against Australia in Dubai on Sunday. — ANI
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson following the defeat against Australia in Dubai on Sunday. — ANI

Bengaluru - Australia maintain record of never losing to their trans-Tasman neighbours in a World Cup knockout game in 40 years



By Sumit Chakraberty

Published: Mon 15 Nov 2021, 12:09 AM

Australia’s win over New Zealand in Sunday’s T20 World Cup final makes it a 100 percent record for chasing and winning evening games in Dubai. Aussie skipper Aaron Finch won six out of seven tosses in the Super 12 and knockouts. On that count alone, he would be the captain of the tournament, if there had been such an award. Because the only game Australia lost was against England when they lost the toss and batted first.

DIFFERENT CONDITIONS

The pitch was sticky at the start of the game which made scoring difficult. Later in the night, the ball came easier on to the bat, which made enough of a difference, even without dew. A 6 pm start just makes the conditions different for the two sides. It wouldn’t be such an uneven playing field if the game could start at 8 pm, which is the usual time for night T20 games. But with the main TV audience for this tournament in India, the UAE evening matches had an earlier start time. This made the toss too big a factor, which organisers of future tournaments will have to consider.

CAPTAIN’S KNOCK IN VAIN

Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson’s 85 in 48 balls was phenomenal under the circumstances. Just like Babar Azam of Pakistan in the semifinal, he was circumspect in the first 10 overs, knowing that the deck was loaded in favour of the bowlers. Then he went at a strike rate of over 200. His dismissal in the 18th over limited the Kiwi total to 172, four less than what Pakistan got in the semifinal against the same opposition.

OPPORTUNITY MISSED

New Zealand missed an opportunity to score bigger when Glenn Phillips came out to bat at the fall of the second wicket in the 12th over. It was a phase of the game when they were trying to make up for going at a run-a-ball in the first 10 overs. Jimmy Neesham, hero of their semifinal victory over England, was ideal for the task. He got in only in the 18th over and faced 7 balls to score 13. Phillips, whose only good knock was against Namibia, did get a six and a four in leg-spinner Adam Zampa’s last over, but his 18 in 17 balls wasn’t good enough for the last 8-over phase.

WARNER’S BLOWBACK

New Zealand’s chances rested on applying pressure early on, but Aussie opener David Warner’s return to form made it an imperious chase despite the early loss of Finch. Warner had run into the leanest patch of his career this year, prompting Sunrisers Hyderabad to replace him as captain and even drop him from the side he had led to an Indian Premier League (IPL) title. Ironically, his fifty to put Australia on track to their first T20 World Cup title came in response to the knock by the man who replaced him as captain at Sunrisers Hyderabad, Williamson. Apart from Warner, Australia’s inspired induction at No.3, Mitchell Marsh, justified the faith invested in him with an unbeaten 77.

HAZLEWOOD’S EXPERIENCE

Josh Hazlewood’s 3 for 16 in his four overs kept the Kiwi total manageable. Hazlewood used his IPL experience, where he helped Chennai Super Kings win the final in Dubai just a month earlier. It turned out to be a one-sided game in the end, maintaining Australia’s record of never losing to their trans-Tasman neighbours in a World Cup knockout game in 40 years. The T20 World Cup joins the five ODI World Cups in the Aussie cupboard. As for the Kiwis, they still await their first World Cup.

Sumit Chakraberty is a writer based in Bengaluru. Write to him at chakraberty@gmail.com


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