Aaron Finch’s Australia claimed their maiden T20 World Cup by defeating Kane Williamson’s New Zealand by eight wickets, thanks to an unbeaten 77 from Mitchell Marsh after a scintillating start by David Warner.
After being put in to bat, the Kiwis posted a competitive score of 172-4 thanks to a fine knock of 85 from 48 by their captain. Tim Seifert, who came in for the injured Devon Conway, switched places with semi-final hero Daryl Mitchell, who opened the batting with Martin Guptill.
The new opening combination got off to a promising start with 28 runs of 3.5 overs, but Mitchell, wanting to guide the ball down to the third man, was caught behind by Mathew Wade off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood.
When the Kiwis Captain joined Guptil in the middle, the duo looked as if they were clawing the team back into the contest, with a partnership of 48.Embed from Getty Images
However, they were unable to build on it as in the 11th over, the tall, right-handed opener picked out Marcus Stoinis at deep mid-wicket. The elegant batsman’s tricky innings of 28 from 35 came to an end with the score at 76-2.Embed from Getty Images
Glenn Phillips also chipped in with a score of 18 at almost a run-a-ball. He along with the captain, who had just reached his first 50 of the tournament in no time at all, put on a much-needed partnership of 68 for the third wicket.Embed from Getty Images
However, in the 17th over their crucial partnership was extinguished by Hazlewood, as the talented right-hander was caught at deep mid-wicket by Pat Cummins. Phillips departed with the score at 144-2 off 17.2 overs.
At the other end, Williamson looked as if he was batting on a different surface.Embed from Getty Images
Until he picked out Steve Smith at long-off.Embed from Getty Images
New Zealand’s reply with the ball got off to a decent start with the score at 15-1 when the Australian captain pulled a short ball from Trent Boult at cow corner. Finch was gone for just five runs off six.
Warner and Marsh steadied the ship, with a partnership of a run-a-ball 89. The free-scoring manner in which the duo inherited changed the momentum of the final. Williamson and his bowlers tried everything possible. But the Left/right combo stood tall.Embed from Getty Images
Boult again gave them a glimmer of hope, when he castled the left-handed opener for 53.Embed from Getty Images
But he failed to take advantage by putting down a tough catch off Marsh of his own bowling.
And that moment proved to be costly as the tall All-rounder and Glenn Maxwell put on a third-wicket stand of 58 from 7.3 overs to take Australia to their maiden World T20 title.
Finch lauded his team for such a wonderful tournament.Embed from Getty Images
“I think a few things would have had to go our way to do that but honestly we had such belief in our group that we were good enough, that our team, our squad were the right players and as good as anyone in the world,” the Australia captain said. “Don’t get me wrong, in T20 cricket you need a bit of luck and we won six out of seven tosses which goes a long way, but we also played some really good cricket. This team is pretty special. The camaraderie, the way that everyone really cares for each other and looks after each other, looks out for each other – pretty special.”
Meanwhile, Williamson was proud of his team’s performance throughout the tournament.
“We were trying to get a bit of a platform and the surface was holding a platform. We got what we thought at the halfway stage was a good total, but it was chased superbly by Australia.
“We made every effort to get a good total. Guys came out and committed to their plans. We weren’t far away but having said that, credit to the way Australia chased that total. They did not give us an inch.
“I’m really proud of our team’s efforts throughout the tournament. We came here and gave it our best shot, but it wasn’t good enough tonight.”
“Australia are a team full of amazing players. Today they really turned it on.
“We finish this campaign and such is life in the international schedule is you move your focus. No doubt we’re feeling this one a little bit.
“We had high hopes coming into the game. It’s never nice. You sign up for these sorts of things. It’s just a shame we couldn’t get the job done tonight.”
The Kiwis have now been in four major finals and have only one trophy, the World Test Championship. They reached the final of the 50-over World Cup twice, losing the Aussies in 2015, and then went down to a dramatic super-over against England in 2019.
With such a talented team, it’s amazing to think how they have not crossed the line on more than one of those four occasions? You could say that luck has sometimes not been in their favor, particularly in 2019, when Ben Stokes unintentionally deflected the ball to the boundary whilst attempting to dive into the crease.
With another T20 World Cup lined up for next year, will they get another chance to their World Test Championship crown?
As for Australia, they will be hoping for back-to-back success, when they return home to retain The Ashes.
Can they do it?
Find out on World in Sport