In Focus

How Australia defied the critics to win the T20 World Cup

Aaron Finch’s team produced an ‘intimidating display’ to crush New Zealand

Ahead of this year’s T20 World Cup, few people gave Australia any chance of lifting the trophy, said Mike Atherton in The Times. The country has never really taken to sport’s shortest format. But on Sunday at the Dubai International Stadium, Aaron Finch’s team produced an “intimidating display” to crush New Zealand in the final and win their first ever T20 World Cup. Put into bat, New Zealand set a challenging total of 172-4 – largely thanks to their captain, Kane Williamson, who scored 85 in 48 balls. But in reply, Australia made light work of the target, romping to victory with seven balls to spare. 

This win was a sharp rejoinder to those who’d mocked Australia for rolling up to this tournament with “what looked suspiciously like a Test team wearing a false moustache”, said Geoff Lemon in The Guardian. It has recently been orthodoxy to maintain that the best T20 teams should be full of players who specialise in this format. But Australia not only relied on “Test-hardened” pace men like Josh Hazlewood (who took three wickets), but also on several batsmen who feature in their Test line-up. 

For the Kiwis, meanwhile, this was another painful loss to add to their defeats in the finals of both the 2015 and 2019 50-over World Cups, said Simon Burnton in The Guardian. Williamson’s team may be one of the best in world cricket – but it seems to be their fate to “still be in the ballroom at the 11th hour before turning into pumpkins when the clock strikes 12”.

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