T20 World Cup 2021: The final – Australia vs New Zealand Match Preview, Playing XI and broadcast details
History is waiting to be made on November 14 as T20 World Cup is set to get a new winner.
Updated - Nov 15, 2021 1:11 pm
“It’s the Australian way that when it is ‘do or die’, they do,” Kevin Pietersen recently said as he picked Australia the favourites to grab the silverware. 1-2, 1-2, 2-3, 1-4, 1-4 is what Australia’s results read in the last five bilateral assignments preceding the 2021 T20 World Cup, a streak of losses running since mid-2020.
No other team had a build-up worse than theirs, and perhaps for the first time, Australia were discounted in an ICC event right from the onset, with many not considering them good enough to proceed any further than the Super12s. But come an ICC event – succeeding where seems to be their birthright – Australia have shushed all naysayers, adding another final into a long list of titular battles they have been a part of in their glorious cricketing history.
Pietersen’s claim is irrebuttable – there seems to be some magic that works behind Australia in tournaments laced with high stakes. Entering the event, they had concerns around their coach, team management, individual form of players. It seemed the UAE tracks won’t suit their style of play, David Warner was immensely short of form, and performances in West Indies and Bangladesh series made one feel there is some serious dearth of ballast in their middle-order.
Australia did not look the most convincing against South Africa in the tournament-opener, and despite winning, they solidified a few beliefs heaping around them as a team. But things changed: Warner found his mojo at the right time, and left the middle-order with not much work to do; Steve Smith played the perfect anchor, responsibly glueing the batting order (barring one crumble against England); Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade summoned the finishing beasts in them; Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood defied theories of UAE tracks not having enough for them, while Adam Zampa led wicket-taking charts.
When a heavy-beating by England wiped the advantage of victories over South Africa and Sri Lanka, Australia ensured to circumvent any mishaps in must-win fixtures against Bangladesh and West Indies. They look well on track in their quest to better the 2010 runners-up finish. Head coach Justin Langer, reminiscing the good old days, stated how Australia can re-establish their world dominance by lifting the trophy this year, but between that stand the perennial underdogs, the lads from the other side of the Tasman Sea, New Zealand.
Unlike Australia, New Zealand had plenty of results to look back and smile at in the lead-up to the tournament. However, concerns crept in with a 2-3 loss at the hands of Bangladesh on tracks similar to the UAE, while the team blew a chance to simulate a little more in those conditions by cancelling the white-ball tour against Pakistan moments before the start.
To make matters worse, New Zealand found themselves grouped alongside no less than three Asian teams – India, Pakistan and Afghanistan – with the tournament venue serving a conducive atmosphere for nearly all their rivals. They went down against Pakistan to embolden the beliefs many had about Asian teams likely to succeed in the UAE, but Kane Williamson and men proved the loss to be a one-off, later bossing a challenging itinerary that pitted them to play one afternoon game after another with hardly any time to recover.
India were decimated, Namibia routed, Afghanistan rolled over, and despite a beat-raising Michael Leask assault against Scotland, they were taken care of eventually too, as New Zealand secured a deserving semi-final berth with silent authority. Martin Guptill and Daryl Mitchell stood up at the correct time; Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips delivered the goods in the middle-order even as Kane Williamson struggled to get going; James Neesham played the all-rounder beautifully; Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner made batters’ life difficult with unfailing consistency, while Tim Southee and Trent Boult brought their tons of experience to the fore.
Australia have been historically successful at big tournaments, while New Zealand have shown Australia-like consistency themselves, proceeding to their third ICC final on the trot after the 2019 ODI World Cup and World Test Championship. Both teams have had eerily similar campaigns in this edition: won four, lost one of their Super12 games, won their respective semi-final battles by five wickets courtesy of some insane end-hitting after being behind for a considerable part of the contest, and neither of them has previously won the tournament. That will certainly change on November 14.
Pitch and conditions
Despite the two teams looking seemingly neck-to-neck, predicting the winner might not be a huge task. Would the winner be decided with a flip of the coin? It is hard to not conclude things like that when the record is so absurdly titled: of the 12 matches in Dubai this year only once has a target been defended, which too was New Zealand’s defence against Scotland in a day affair. In night encounters, the record reads in 9-0 in chasers’ favour. Expect toss and dew to play a role again.
Playing combination for AUS vs NZ
Australia are unlikely to change the XI that overcame Pakistan in the semi-final.
Predicted XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
After using his hands and bat so efficiently to score crucial runs all tournament, Devon Conway bizarrely used the same two things to rule himself out of not only the final against Australia but also the impending India series – he fractured the hand with a furious slam at his bat after being dismissed versus England. Kane Williamson, on match-eve, confirmed Tim Siefert will replace him.
Predicted XI: Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson, Tim Seifert (wk), Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi
AUS vs NZ Head-to-head
Matches- 14, Australia – 9, New Zealand– 4, N/R- 0, Tied- 1
In T20 World Cups
Matches- 1, Australia – 0, New Zealand– 1, N/R- 0, Tied- 0
AUS vs NZ Broadcast Details
Match Timings – 07:30 PM IST
TV – Star Sports Network
Live Streaming – Disney+Hotstar