By News Team
12th November 2021
After two blistering T20 World Cup semi-finals we could have been looking at an England v Pakistan final, but individual performances from Jimmy Neesham and Matthew Wade late in the day made sure it was an all-southern hemisphere affair as New Zealand face Australia on Sunday.
We preview this weekend’s T20 World Cup final below.
Kane the great
New Zealand were clinical in their victory over England in the first of the semi-finals but it could have been a different story had Jimmy Neesham not dispatched Chris Jordan’s crucial 17th over to all parts of the ground. The Kiwis are a solid unit, that there is no doubt of it, and it is that quality that could earn them a World Cup trophy – two years on after they had the ODI version firmly in their grasp before England, and more specifically Ben Stokes, wrestled it away.
If New Zealand can go on to make amends in this final it would be a rather fitting tribute to the hard work Kane Williamson has put in since taking the reigns of Kiwi cricket as captain across all formats in 2016. In that short time they have contested the 2019 World Cup final, won the inaugural World Test Championship and now have reached the T20 World Cup final. It would be only fitting that Williamson is rewarded for these efforts with a winners’ medal.
The Kiwis are the 13/10 underdogs for this final, which looks to represent value. Of course, they will be up against the big names Australia have in their ranks, but the togetherness and harmony that they have shown not, just in this tournament, but in the last few years could be enough to see them through.
Australia shaky favourites
Like the first semi-final, Australia’s tie against Pakistan could also have gone the other way if it wasn’t for Matthew Wade dispatching Shaheen Afridi when the game was finely in the balance. The final could have looked very different. Wade has received his fair share of criticism in recent years and that innings will prove invaluable to him heading into the final and beyond. But the Kiwis’ bowling attack will prove a difficult obstacle for all of Australia’s batters as Tim Southee and Co. have looked a different class in this tournament.
The Australian side is littered with star names that are commonplace in the global T20 franchises, but they look to lack the camaraderie that other international sides have built. Eoin Morgan credits England’s success in recent years to the unity they have built, and if Kane Williamson was questioned on the same thing, then his answer would probably not be too dissimilar. That’s why as the 8/13 favourites, Australia may not be the best bet here.