As a result of the challenging, two-paced fields used in this competition, it boasts the lowest scoring rate of any T20 World Cup. The final, on the other hand, was as near to pure T20 as anything we’ve seen in the UAE in recent weeks. The quickest fifty in a T20 World Cup final was set and quickly broken, and if Kane Williamson was on the losing side and Mitchell Marsh was among the victors, the difference was what transpired around them. Williamson hit 85 off 48 balls, and the rest of New Zealand’s hitters combined for 78 off 73. Marsh finished with a perfect score of 77 off 50. The rest of Australia’s hitters combined for 86 runs off 63 balls. This included a superbly controlled half-century from David Warner, who, after an unsettled and unsettling IPL, has returned to his best as a T20 opener in this tournament, and a breezy cameo from Glenn Maxwell, who had the honour of bowling the winning shot: a reverse-swipe past short third man off Tim Southee.
Australia prevailed by eight wickets, with seven balls to spare, and were crowned T20 global champions at long last. When the competition began, Australia wasn’t considered one of the favourites, but take another look at that lineup. You can’t have Warner, Aaron Finch, Marsh, Maxwell, and Marcus Stoinis as hitters and not be a serious T20 squad for very long. The bowlers contributed, too, particularly Josh Hazlewood, whose into-the-pitch legcutters helped him reach 4-0-16-3 in a match with a combined run rate of nearly 8.9, but this was essentially a victory of T20’s most important skill: boundary hitting. On the day, Australia was far stronger than New Zealand at this skill, but it undoubtedly helped that they won the final toss of a competition strongly impacted by tosses. The start is sluggish.
New Zealand, like England and Pakistan in their respective semi-finals, batted slowly during the first 10 overs of their innings – and not only in comparison to the last ten. They had only lost one wicket at the midway stage, but just 57 runs on the board. New Zealand went 32 balls without a boundary between the fourth over, when Martin Guptill smashed Hazlewood in front of point, and the ninth over, when Williamson stepped out and smacked Marsh through the covers. This phase saw some tight bowling, notably from Hazlewood and Adam Zampa, whose cutters denied the hitters both space and pace to work with, as well as some calm overs in which New Zealand didn’t appear to want to press the issue. The seventh over, bowled by offspinner Maxwell to two right-handed batsmen, was a case in point: one dot and five calm singles to the deep fielders, the kind of singles the bowling squad is delighted to surrender. Guptill ended up making 28 off 35 balls, and it wasn’t necessarily an innings of a man attempting to attack but failing. According to ESPNcricinfo’s stats, he intended to defend or rotate the strike on 22 of the 35 balls he faced.
Starc vs. Williamson This was one of the match’s pivotal moments, and it might have ended in one ball if Hazlewood had held on to a simple opportunity at fine leg in the 11th over. Hazlewood, on the other hand, put it down, and Starc received a shellacking.
Williamson took the greatest punishment in the 16th over, going 4, 4, 6, 0, 4, 4 against the left-arm fast. There were several spectacular strokes in this phase, most notably a whipping six off the pads and over deep-backward square-leg, but it was a couple of edges to the third-man boundary that truly summed up the exchange – and Williamson’s innings. Williamson obviously thought he’d get four if the ball went outside off stump and he swung hard and edged with Starc bowling from the left-arm over and both backward point and third man in the circle. Starc finished with numbers of 4-0-60-0, the poorest ever in a T20 World Cup final. The opening 10 overs are dominated by Australia. As previously stated, New Zealand made 57 for 1 in their first 10 overs. Australia retaliated with a score of 82 for 1. This was partially due to deliberate action. Despite only spending seven balls at the crease, Finch showed a lot of it. After charging Trent Boult and hitting him for four runs in the third over, he charged him again the following ball, failing to get to the pitch but going hard anyway: the fact that he miscued and was caught in the deep was an unpleasant result, but not one he was afraid of. It was also due in part to poor bowling. The quick bowlers had proved in New Zealand’s innings that off-pace and into the pitch was the way to go, but Adam Milne, like Starc before him, went for peak pace. Marsh, who had just recently arrived at the crease, smashed his opening three balls for 6, 4, and 4. The first of those strokes, a pick-up that went beyond the square-leg boundary with ease, served as a warning of how well he was seeing the ball. And there was the third factor in Australia’s first-half dominance: they had two hitters in great form in Marsh and Warner, who were batting on a flat pitch and increasing with confidence each time they middled the ball. Muscles of the marsh Australia is where I call home. Marsh epitomised Australia’s hitters’ ruthless treatment of the short or even somewhat short ball. Six of his 10 hits to or over the boundary came on shots that could be roughly classified as “pulls,” even if the last of them, a flat-batted shot to the long-off boundary, pushed that definition a little. The last ray of light for New Zealand came in the 13th over, when Boult, whose slower cutters allowed him to avoid the punishment that his teammates did, slipped a shortish ball under Warner’s pull to bowl him. But Marsh and Maxwell collaborated to suffocate it brutally, with Marsh reaching fifty in the following over with a massive six off Sodhi, bettering Williamson’s 32-ball performance by one ball.