Australia won their maiden T20 World Cup title after defeating New Zealand by eight wickets at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. After winning the toss, the eventual champions asked New Zealand to bat first and restricted them to 172 in 20 overs. In reply, half-centuries from David Warner and Mitchell Marsh took Australia over the line in 18.5 overs. Let’s take a look at some of the talking points from the big final.
The Kane Williamson redemption
Before the final, the Kiwi skipper had scored only 131 runs in six innings at a poor rate strike rate of 94.24. But big players rise to the occasion in big games, and so did Williamson. He scored a classy 85 off 48 balls in the final that was laced with 10 boundaries and three maximums and stayed put till the 17th over. It is, however, important to note that Williamson was dropped by Josh Hazelwood when he was on 22 off 21 balls, and was later dismissed by the same bowler. After his catch was dropped, Williamson rapidly increased his strike rate and scored 64 off the last 27 balls he faced. Williamson’s 85 is now the joint-highest score by a batter in a men’s T20 World Cup final and the highest-ever by a captain.
The highest total in a World Cup final
Apart from Kane Williamson’s 85, the other contributions came from Martin Guptill (28), Glenn Phillips (18) and James Neesham (13) as New Zealand set up a target of 172 – which is the highest in a T20 World Cup final. The previous highest total was India’s 157 in the inaugural edition in 2007.
Josh Hazelwood stars with the ball
Josh Hazelwood was the best performer with the ball in the final. He picked up three wickets in his four overs and conceded only 16 runs. On these same pitch conditions last month, the pacer had picked up two wickets for 29 runs in the IPL final.
David Warner’s remarkable comeback
Only last month, David Warner’s form was so shaky, that his IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad decided to drop one of their all-time highest run-scorers from the playing XI. With the World Cup approaching, many questioned if Warner should be given a chance in Australia’s playing XI given that he was completely out of form. Cut short to the end of the tournament – Warner finds himself on the list of batters with most runs in a single edition of the T20 World Cup. He is sixth on the list with 289 runs, and the second-highest run-scorer in the 2021 edition. The 289 runs are also the most by any Australian batter in a T20 World Cup. Quite fittingly, Warner took home the Player of the Tournament award.
Mitchell Marsh – the game-changer
Player of the Match in the final, Mitchell Marsh scored an unbeaten 77 off 50 balls that was laced with six boundaries and four maximums. After Warner’s departure, Marsh was joined in by Glenn Maxwell, who scored a quickfire 28 off 18 to help Australia win the title with seven balls to spare.
Australia win their maiden T20 World Cup title
Australia registered some big wins in the league stages to make it to the knockouts and eventually to their first-ever T20 World Cup title. They started the tournament with a nail-biting win over South Africa, after which they beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets. But it was in their third match – the one against England, when their shortcomings came to the fore as their target of 125 was gunned down in 11.4 overs. Australia bounced back from defeat to win their next two games against Bangladesh and West Indies by big margins and made it to the semi-final, where they were up against the team to beat – Pakistan. The game went down to the wire before the result went in Australia’s favour. And then, a great show in the final. Australia have now established themselves as one of the best all-format teams. They have won the ODI World Cup five times, Champions Trophy twice and are now the best T20I team in the world.
An eventful World Cup comes to an end
After being delayed by a year due to the Covid19 pandemic, the T20 World Cup 2021 finally took place in the UAE, during which 45 matches were played between 16 teams over the course of a month. India, the favourites to win the tournament, lost their chances to make it to the semi-final quite early in the tournament, while New Zealand, a team that not many gave a chance, made it to the finals. Although some of the games got a bit boring during the league stages, the semi-finals were full of typical T20 drama. Pakistan, touted as the team to beat after how they performed in the league stage, lost to Australia in the second semi-final while England lost to New Zealand in the first semi-final. The Kangaroos and the Kiwis were not quite the two expected to make it to the finals. . New Zealand’s journey to the final – they lost their key bowler Lockie Ferguson to injury only hours before their first game – was quite an exceptional one.
Three consecutive finals for New Zealand
Although they ended up on the losing side, New Zealand will look back on their journey at the last three ICC events with pride. They made it to the finals in all the last three mega events – they lost the men’s ODI World Cup final to England before winning the World Test Championship and then made it to the T20 World Cup final.
A few quick stats from the tournament
As the curtains draw on the tournament, let’s take a quick look at a few important numbers that were achieved. Pakistan’s Babar Azam is the highest run-scorer at the 2021 T20 World Cup with 303 runs at an average of 60.60, while Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga picked up the most number of wickets – 16. England’s Jos Buttler scored the highest individual score – 101*, while Scotland’s Richard Berrington registered the most ducks – 3. An unbeaten 152 between Azam and Mohammed Rizwan was the highest partnership by runs in the tournament.