THE T20 World Cup final is here! Australia will search for their first crown in the shortest form of the game against New Zealand, who have made the final for the first time.
Australia have never been able to breakthrough in T20 cricket. Despite their incredible tendency to continually win One Day World Cups over the years, that hasn’t been the case in the shortest form of the game. They have made two semi-finals (in 2007 and 2012) and one final (in 2010), but have never been able to win the tournament.
New Zealand, on the other hand, are on something of a resurgence in international cricket across all three formats. This is the third major final they have made in a row, following the 2019 ODI World Cup, and the inaugural World Test Championship final at Lord’s earlier this year. Like Australia though, they have never been able to take out a World Cup title in the shortest form of the game, having only made the semi-finals on two occasions back in 2007 and 2016.
That means we will have a new winner crowned on Monday morning (AEDT) to join previous champions India, England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the West Indies twice.
The Aussies weren’t expected to make the finals of this tournament, let alone sneak their way into the final. However, with the exception of a road bump against England where they were reduced to cannon fodder, they have been one of the dominant teams. David Warner has refound his form, and the bowlers have been on song.
From the first clash – a shaky win over South Africa, to their last group stage match when they chased down 157 against the West Indies in just 16.2 overs, their form has only improved the longer the tournament has gone on, culminating in handing Pakistan their first loss of the tournament in the semi-final on Friday morning (AEDT). Despite being set a chase of 176, Australia chased it down in 19 overs with David Warner leading the way from the top, and Matthew Wade in all sorts of form down the bottom of the order as he clubbed 41 from 17.
A win over Pakistan in these conditions hold the Aussies in good stead for the final, but New Zealand’s only loss of the tournament came against the red-hot Pakistan. The Kiwis have also been in excellent form, with their bowlers regularly getting the job done. Lead by Trent Boult and Ish Sodhi, they held India to 110, Namibia to 111 and Afghanistan to 124, before their batters got the job done in the semi-final against England, chasing down 166 with Daryl Mitchell’s 72 from 47 leading the way.
There isn’t much between these sides at all, but given New Zealand’s reliance on Ish Sodhi with the ball, David Warner coming into form isn’t something they would be hoping for. One of the best players of spin in the world, Warner took down the Pakistani attack in the semi-final. If they can’t remove him quickly and stop him from building a platform for the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Soinis and Wade, then it could be curtains for the Black Caps.
In saying that, Australia will also somewhat rely on the form of Adam Zampa. He was completely out of touch coming into the tournament, but has led the way at points, including taking 5 for 19 off 4 overs against Bangladesh in Australia’s second last group stage game. That means the pressure is on Mitchell and Martin Guptill to get a good start. Australia haven’t used Zampa in the first six overs at all this tournament, meaning a platform must be built for the likes of Kane Williamson to use and ensure Zampa is under pressure when he comes into the attack.
It feels though that without much between the sides, the rocket blasting middle order of the Aussies, with Maxwell, Stoinis and Wade, could make the difference here in a game which should go right down to the wire.
Our best bet: Australia to win in a thriller