The only world title missing in the cupboard at Jolimont Street in Victoria, Australia is the ICC World T20. Staff there will be hoping to make space alongside the five 50 overs trophy when their team battle cross-Tasman rivals New Zealand in the 2021 final at Dubai International Stadium, UAE today.
New Zealand was recently crowned World Test champions and lost in the final of the 2019 ICC 50 overs World Cup to England in a Super Over. They have been playing great cricket for the past two years and will be a formidable unit to stop. Both teams finished runners-up in their respective groups but have been gathering momentum at the right time in this tournament.
This is New Zealand’s first appearance in the final of the men’s T20 World Cup. Australia was runners-up in 2010. The teams last met in a tournament decider in the 2015 Cricket World Cup, with Australia walking away victors. Australian skipper Aaron Finch, however, believes that it is not surprising that Australia have made it to the finals. The Aussie skipper also praised the Black Caps for their consistency in the recent ICC events.
“No, it’s not unexpected,” said Finch. “Like I said we came here with a clear plan to try to win this tournament. We always felt as though we’ve got the depth of the squad and the quality in our squad to put ourselves in a position to do that.
“And New Zealand, they have been in every final for a long time now in ICC events. They are a great team over all three formats of the game. They are a team that can never be underestimated. But maybe people on the outside do. Certainly inside, we don’t. They have got firepower, they have got experience, they have got class. No, I’m not surprised one bit.”
The Kiwis head into the match after receiving a major blow as wicketkeeper/batsman Devon Conway is out with a broken hand. “He’s absolutely gutted to be ruled out like this at this time,” said Gary Stead, the head coach of New Zealand, said of Conway. The injury was self-inflicted as Conway in showing his disappointment on being out against England in the semis struck himself. “Devon is hugely passionate about playing for the Black Caps and no one is more disappointed at the moment than he is – so we’re really trying to rally around him.
“It looked a pretty innocuous reactionary incident on the field, but the blow obviously caught the bat between the glove padding and while it’s not the smartest thing he’s done there’s certainly an element of bad luck in the injury. Devon is a great team-man and a very popular member of the side so we’re all feeling for him.”
Umpires Marais Erasmus and Richard Kettleborough will assume on-field duties. Nitin Menon will be the TV umpire for the match while Kumar Dharmasena will be the fourth umpire. The final will be overseen by Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle.
Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway (wk), Adam Milne, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee.
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Match Officials for the final:
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle
On-field umpires: Marais Erasmus and Richard Kettleborough
TV umpire: Nitin Menon
Fourth umpire: Kumar Dharmasena