Australia’s golden generation ends its T20 World Cup drought in style

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14 Nov 2021 | 05:35 PM
authorcricket.com staff

Australia’s golden generation ends its T20 World Cup drought in style

A T20 World Cup eluded the Men’s team for 14 years, but that is no longer the case

Written off prior to the World Cup, the Australian Men’s Cricket team’s golden generation finally has a T20 World Cup as the Aaron Finch-led side decimated New Zealand in Dubai to be crowned champions. New Zealand put up a challenging 172 on the board after losing the toss, but a stunning 77* Mitchell Marsh ensured that the Aussies got over the line with 7 balls to spare. 

New Zealand stall after brisk start with the bat

When Martin Guptill smashed the second ball of the final, bowled by Mitchell Starc, to the boundary, it looked like we were in for a run-fest just like the second semi-final. There was a four and a six in the next two overs, and by the end of the third over, New Zealand were flying high at 23/0. The pitch, too, looked just about fine. 

However, the Kiwis lost all the momentum post the dismissal of Daryl Mitchell, who nicked one to the keeper Wade. Hazlewood, who was at his metronomic best, hit a hard length but took pace off the ball, and aiming to run the ball towards the third-man region, Mitchell, the man in-form, nicked the ball. New Zealand were 28/1 at the end of the fourth over.

In walked Williamson at No.3, and for the next five overs, it was all Australia. All the Aussie bowlers, including the part-timer Glenn Maxwell, hit the perfect lengths, and the Kiwis struggled to get going. Williamson’s first 12 balls yielded just 6 runs, and Guptill too did not hit a boundary after the third over. 

The four-over period between the fifth and eighth over yielded just 12 runs, and after 8 overs, the Kiwis were just 40/1. 

A 11-run ninth over from Mitch Marsh followed, but a tight tenth over meant that New Zealand were 57/1 at the halfway mark, needing a perfect final 10 overs to put a competitive total on the board. 

Williamson’s dream knock, Starc’s horror evening propels New Zealand to 172

All tournament, Aaron Finch has given Mitch Starc at least one over immediately after the halfway mark and today was no different. The Aussie skipper threw the ball to his talisman to bowl the 11th over in order to break the brewing partnership, and Starc immediately vindicated the decision by creating a chance to send Williamson back to the pavilion. 

However, instead of New Zealand being two-down, a sitter being dropped by Josh Hazlewood meant that the ball went to the boundary. And that eventually proved to be a huge turning point in the innings.

The following two balls went to the boundary too, and that got Williamson going. At 18 off 19 prior to the start of the over, Williamson kicked-on after the reprieve, and astonishingly brought his fifty off just 32 balls. Everything he touched turned into gold and the Aussies had no answer.

However, it was what he did after getting to the fifty that stunned the Kangaroos. Finch brought back Starc for the 16th over, and Williamson immediately made the Aussie skipper regret the decision. The Kiwi captain struck four fours and a six in the over, and amassed 22 to completely turn the complexion of the game. 

Williamson perished two overs later, for 85, but his onslaught enabled the Kiwis to get to 172, with Neesham and Phillips also playing small but valuable hands.

The pick of the bowlers for Australia was Hazlewood, who finished with 3/16 off his 4 overs, but Starc’s spell of 0/60 meant that Hazlewood’s spell was pretty much neutralized. Also impressive was Cummins (0/27), who hit the pitch hard and also took the pace off, often. 

Warner, Marsh put Australia on right path after early loss of Finch

173 is always a challenging total to chase, regardless of the wicket, moreso in a World Cup final against a world-class bowling attack. And Australia got off to a horror start, losing skipper Aaron Finch in just the third over. Finch looked to be aggressive and stepped down the wicket, but he got bounced out by Boult, who removed the Aussie skipper. 

However, like in the semi-final against Pakistan, the early wicket did not jolt Australia. At all. If anything, it proved to be the catalyst for a scary Marsh-Warner assault. 

It all started with Mitch Marsh. Walking in at No.3, Marsh struck six, four and four off his first three balls, and that got Australia going. New Zealand hoped that the early wicket of Finch would give them control, but Marsh’s positive start meant that that did not happen. He took care of the pacers, and kept the scoreboard ticking.

But Marsh’s explosive start did not only keep the scoreboard ticking. It also allowed Warner to play himself in. Warner started slow, scoring just 26 off his first 26 balls, but once he got his eye in, the southpaw cut loose. His five balls yielded 15 runs, and in Warner’s case, it was the spinners who suffered the punishment. 

Australia finished the halfway mark at 82/1, and put themselves in the drivers’ seat to win the final. 

Marsh-powered Australia win maiden Men’s T20 World Cup

At the halfway stage, Australia still needed 91 runs to win. With 9 wickets in hand, they were heavy favorites, but the task at hand was a far from easy one. However, on the very first ball of the second half of the innings, the Aussies made their intentions clear:  Mitchell Marsh bludgeoned Jimmy Neesham for a maximum, and it was evident that the Kangaroos had only one thing on their mind, which was to blast the Kiwis off the park. 

And they did so in brutal fashion to clinch the Men’s T20 World Cup for the first time in their history.

New Zealand thought they had a sniff when Boult bowled Warner in the 13th over, but Marsh ended up playing the best T20I knock of his career to take the team over the line.

Australia needed 64 off the last 7 overs, but Marsh took 16 runs off the 14th over bowled by Ish Sodhi to turn the contest fully in his side’s favor. The next two overs yielded 11 and 13 respectively, and Marsh was given able support by Maxwell. 

Maxwell walked in at No.4 to tackle the spinners, but it was the pacers who he ended up decimating as he raced to 21 off his first 11 balls, predominantly smashing Southee and Milne, to essentially kill the chase. 

Marsh kept going, but it was Maxwell who had the privilege of hitting the winning runs. In trademark Maxwell fashion, the Big-Show pulled off the reverse-hit and tickled a Tim Southee delivery to the third-man boundary to clinch Australia their first ever Men’s T20 World Cup.

A fitting end, if there ever was one. 

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New Zealand vs AustraliaICC World Twenty20, 2021AustraliaNew ZealandAdam ZampaKane WilliamsonDavid WarnerMitchell MarshGlenn Maxwell

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