As the Dubai sky lit up with fireworks, the Australians were immersed in an atmosphere that was emotional and enthusiastic in their team. Kane Williamson and his men were waiting to shake hands, for the third time they had no luck in the World Cup final.
Glenn Maxwell, whose 19-point reverse sweep from Tim Southey led Australia to break 172 New Zealand points to win the 2021 World Cup final at the Dubai International Stadium in front of a largely uncaring audience at the Dubai International Stadium …
Australia just added to their phenomenal elimination record against their trans-Tasmanian rivals – they now won 16 of 17 matches – as they beat New Zealand with 8 wickets that looked almost inevitable.
Both teams made it to the finals, beating the more quirky Asian teams. However, it was not the same Australian team that made it to the final with the favorites mark. They were written off before the tournament. Partly because of their modest T20 comeback recently, and partly because of the controversy that has plagued them over the past few years. The sandpaper scandal, the ensuing “cultural review” and team rift around Justin Langer’s coaching path. They put it all aside for a spectacular chase, based on the efforts of Dave Warner 53 (38) and Mitchell Marsh (77 *) against the New Zealand team, which has been doing much better in all formats lately.
So many Australian players have excelled in big games: Markus Stoinis and Matthew Wade stole the semi-finals from Pakistan. Warner and Adam Zampa were outstanding players throughout the tournament and they, along with Marsh and Josh Hazlewood, played again.
As a result, none of the tournament tendencies changed in the final. No team won the evening game in Dubai in the tournament. Australia has made sure that this does not change. 172 is a good result for the final. But that was not enough on a pitch that made it easier to hit in the second serve, rather than on the aggressive mood of the Australian batters.
Aaron Finch was the only wicket that Australia lost on a power play as they moved to 43/1. Warner didn’t risk much to stay alive to face the Kiwi spinners, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodi. He could have done this because Marsh on the other end of the line took responsibility for risking his own hands.
New Zealand was thrilled with the matches. But Australia has changed the effectiveness of each one. The march went after Adam Milne’s 4th hit, pulling twice and cutting once to collect a 15-early. March was also the first to go after Santner in the 8th oval. Warner followed Sodhi in the 9th. For Kiwi lures, the ball did not come off the surface. Sodhi tried the slider, got shorter, tried fuller, but Warner’s nimble footwork and powerful kicks resulted in another very productive 17th run. Halfway through, Australia is comfortably seated at 82/1.
New Zealand had to go to the seam, but Warner was not embarrassed. First he hit James Nisham on the beautiful leg, then deep in the middle of the gate to bring him to his 50, punching the air and screaming with delight. He followed New Zealand. He silenced himself all the pain of being put on the bench at the IPL for his misconduct in Cape Town. It was not a bad excuse to drop everything.
Boult overwhelmed Warner in the 13th half-time, but Marsh continued to attack, raising his 50 in Sodhi, 16th innings that leaked in 16 runs. The leg-spinner gave 40 runs in his three overs. Australia singled it out, as Williamson did for Stark. Australia hid New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup final. The script, unfortunately for the Black Caps, looked eerily similar.
This was not the atmosphere of a rock concert that Justin Langer experienced in the semi-finals. Pakistani spectators came with tickets for the final. Many did not. A stadium in Dubai, which was at first a third full, and then gradually began to fill up to half. But they still sang for Pakistan and India. Wickets or jogging. Two teams remained to cheer up. Williamson was the only Kiwi to have fun. Australia emerged as a collective.
Australia’s efforts spoiled Williamson’s impressive opportunity. Before the final, he scored 131 runs on the run. But the way he was able to shift gears to produce 85 innings (48, 10 x 4, 3 x 6) was admirable.
Williamson found it difficult to find a single in that final powerlifting match held by Hazlewood. Two tries is all he has. 32 runs – All New Zealand teams are majority driven. Most of the teams were trying to get to the next level. New Zealand didn’t throw its bats. They believed in data. They should have known better.
Three overs later, Williamson assisted the Marsh midfielder in the middle of the match. 11 runs came from the 9th to kick-start the serve. Then the catch fell. Stark, who was brought back in search of a wicket, made 19 runs. New Zealand did 79 runs with 11-16 overs. Williamson was very careful about Stark. 60 dropped out of his 4 overs, mostly due to the captain’s blade. But Hazlewood (4-16-3) was impressive at the other end, never deviating from his plans. Zampa had another good match (4-26-1), ending the tournament with 13 wickets.