New Zealand and Australia have outlasted tournament favourites, form teams heading into this final. They are the unexpected title contenders. Trans-Tasman nations contesting a final in UAE is reflective of how they have played in the tournament. Both the teams are now just a step away from creating history. The final will give the world a new T20 WC 2021 champion. None better than these two teams to fight for it.
We look at 5 things that these two teams have done right this tournament as compared to other much-fancied teams:
#5 Making optimum use of the toss
A famous saying is now doing the rounds. It reads, “Win the toss in UAE, win the game”. But toss will only help to a certain extent. It is the teams who make optimal use of it who finish on the right side.
Both New Zealand and Australia have made complete use of the advantage presented to them. They have applied spectacular chokes on teams with their bowling. India received the dose of bossing the toss in the first couple of games and later presented it too. But it was too late by then.
#4 Dominating the powerplay with batting
Australia are the only team to post 4 fifty-plus scores in the powerplay this World Cup. Their openers have gone hell for leather in the starting overs. It has helped laid a terrific foundation for their middle order.
The Kiwis too have had strong power plays albeit not as aggressive as Australia. But they have made sure that their strong middle and lower-middle have a solid base to work on. If only teams like West Indies used this mantra, they would have been better served.
#3 Aggressive gameplay under pressure
These two finalists have burst the pressure bubble with audacity. New Zealand when put under the pump against England, came out all guns blazing.
Similarly, Australia were in a spot of huge bother, when their captain, Aaron Finch was dismissed for a golden duck. But the Aussies turned it around spectacularly. David Warner and Mitchell Marsh staged a stunning counterattack to seize the momentum.
This is something that much-hyped teams like India had failed to do in their first couple of games.
#2 Taking the game deep
Only Australia and New Zealand succeeded in taking the game deep to close out the opposition. Both the teams needed almost 60 runs in the last 5 overs. But they didn’t throw in the towel. They hung in there waiting for the right moment. If it was the pair of Daryll Mitchell and Jimmy Neesham for New Zealand, then it was the Marcus Stoinis-Matthew Wade duo that worked for Australia.
The pairs showcased that if put under pressure at the death, great bowlers too wilt under it. England and Pakistan failed on this count.
#1 The art of making a comeback
New Zealand started the tournament on the wrong note. They suffered a defeat against a rampaging Pakistani side. But soon after they collected their pieces to put on a stellar show right through the World Cup. Now they sit on the cusp of completing the double of winning both the WTC and the T20 WC 2021 in the same year.
Australia on the other hand had to contend with a humiliating, tournament halting loss against England. But credit to their never say die attitude, that they put the loss behind them and marched ahead. Australia started the tournament as underdogs, were written off mid-tournament and now stand favourites to lift the title.
The virtue of making a comeback is the biggest factor that has helped both these teams to fight for the big prize. Other competing teams need to take a leaf out from their book to understand and implement this the next time.