Bragging rights on the playing field define modern tug of war between Tasmania. Once Upon a time, Australia and New Zealand They were unequal competitors on the cricket field, with Australia consistently the favorite in any format showdown.
His contests rarely evoked the passionate nationalist cries of an India-Pakistan game or the nuanced and history-laden symbolism of the ashes. Often times, the shadows of the big brother-little brother rivalry negated any notion of genuine animosity. How the times change.
The relentless search for improvements, the rotation of sports cycles and the arrival of the T20 format will all contribute to making Sunday’s final the most ruthless cricket brand you can witness.
New Zealand’s image of perennial underdogs, forever doomed to punch above their weight, does not ring entirely true in ICC events. And Australia in this tournament seems to have shed, perhaps forever, its apprehensive approach to the shorter format. They’re both prepared to go the extra mile to get their hands on a blood-thirsty first. World Cup T20 qualification.
“Both teams have a great history in cricket and as neighbors. We always have great battles no matter the format, ”said the Australian captain. Aaron Finch, adding that “New Zealand has been in all the finals for a long time.”
The truth, however, is that the Kiwis have not beaten Australia in an elimination game. Australia have won 16 of 17 matches from the quarter-final stage onwards, and four ICC knockout matches. That New Zealand has reached the knockout stages four times in the last five ICC events, is in its third consecutive ICC tournament final and has already won an ICC title this year, the World Test Championship against India, is not enough satisfaction.
Jimmy Neesham made this perfectly clear the other day. His impassive attitude after turning the game around against England and the subsequent comment that “you don’t come to the other side of the world just to win a semi-final” indicates that New Zealand is hungry. Their 7 wicket loss to the Australians in the 2015 WC final still pains me.
Further back in time was the 2009 Champions Trophy final, also against the Australians, also lost, this time by 6 wickets when a devastating Shane Watson crushed Kiwi’s dreams. Let’s put aside the monumental pain of the final WC 2019 loss to England.
A break in the hex will not happen automatically, unless New Zealand puts all its intelligence into play. As Finch said, “This is a game between two sides that are similarly paired.” Like the Australians, the Kiwis are a settled T20 team with a fixed focus and predictable patterns. Also like the Australians, they are so good at this approach that opponents have been unable to shake off that strategy.
Both teams were not considered favorites in the run-up to the tournament, but their efficiency has overtaken them. From David Warner’s hard hitting bat to Neesham’s desperate lunge for six, from Ish Sodhi’s solid punch to Adam Zampa’s variations, this will be a battle of two cold, clinical, well-organized teams that have added just the right mix of aggression and fearlessness.
As Kiwi coach Gary Stead said, “We will have to make sure we have really clear plans for their players. They can open a game quickly. ”
The Kiwi mentality is simple: They will be aggressive in their search for early terrain and fighting will play a large part in their ploy.
The magic will probably come from Kane williamsonInstinctive captaincy, especially with the launch playing such a crucial role in Dubai.
Australia has also figured it all out in their search for new cutlery. As coach Justin Langer said: “We have such a rich history that it will be good to add this piece to the puzzle.”
Like the Kiwis against England, Finch’s mentally resistant group unleashed an all-or-nothing approach that took Pakistan by surprise. The fact that Matthew Wade’s three straight sixes against Afridi find a parallel in Neesham’s attack on Chris Jordan and Adil Rashid is a testament to the success of two similar selection policies: reliance on tried and tested players as they the T20 requires you to think about your feet in tremendous conditions. Pressure.
This is what will make players like Warner and Trent Boult X-factors in the final.
As always, Australia will go heavy hitting, as Finch put it, “with seven specialized hitters.” Naturally, a New Zealand full of bowling will seek to forge a whole greater than the sum of its parts and will somehow try to stop them.
“The title is going to mean a lot to us,” said Australian Marcus Stoinis. Not just your team, buddy.