Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Australia versus New Zealand is an old rivalry in cricket that will be renewed in Dubai on Sunday.
It is the final of the T20 World Cup, a tournament neither side has won.
Australia and New Zealand were not expected or predicted to come this far in this year’s tournament too.
On Wednesday, New Zealand looked down and out in their semi-final against 50-overs world champions England. A flurry of sixes and the Kiwis sealed their maiden appearance in the title decider.
Twenty-four hours later, Pakistan had Australia reeling at 95 for five while chasing 177. It rained sixes once again to seal the unlikeliest of wins and drown Pakistan’s hopes and dreams once again.
Back in 2005, Australia and New Zealand played the first Twenty20 international ever.
Head to head, Australia holds the upper hand, winning nine while losing five, including a Super-Over loss.
New Zealand won the only T20 the sides have played at a neutral venue, an eight-run win at the 2016 T20 World Cup.
Route to the final
Beat South Africa by five wickets
Beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets
Lost to England by eight wickets
Beat Bangladesh by eight wickets
Beat West Indies by eight wickets
Beat Pakistan by five wickets
— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) November 12, 2021
Lost to Pakistan by five wickets
Beat India by eight wickets
Beat Scotland by 16 runs
Beat Namibia by 52 runs
Beat Afghanistan by eight wickets
Beat England by five wickets
New Zealand’s love for finals
Since 2015, New Zealand have managed to reach the final in four of the five global events.
Two years ago, they lost to England in the final of the 50-over World Cup on a now-scrapped boundary rule.
Earlier this year, New Zealand won the inaugural Test Championship final and captain Kane Williamson will be looking to add another feather to the crown by winning the T20 World Cup.
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) November 13, 2021
Australia look for missing crown
Australia have won five 50-over World Cups and have also dominated Test cricket.
However, their T20 World Cup silverware is missing from the trophy cabinet and that is something the team and captain Aaron Finch will be looking to mend.
Australia came into the tournament after losing their last five T20 series, including a drubbing in Bangladesh.
But the team performed when it mattered, winning five out of their six matches in the tournament (winning all while chasing) and turning the semi-final around on its head.
What the captains said
Williamson: “We want to bring our focus to the cricket that we want to play and make sure that’s the most important thing – go out there, enjoy the occasion and take it on in our style.
“It’s making those adjustments and certainly having the courage to do so and play smart cricket and buy into concepts that, for us as a team, are kind of what we try and wholeheartedly do.
“It’s great to be here, a reflection of a lot of hard work, but tomorrow is a one-off match and, for us, it’s trying to make those small adjustments again and keep the focus really close.”
Finch: “It’s one that’s eluded us in the past and the fact that we are here in the final gives us the best opportunity to rectify that.
“Everyone had written us off but we had a lot of confidence within. We were really confident the way that we were preparing, the way that our strategy was coming together.
“I think it hasn’t defied expectation. I think we came here with a really clear plan to win the tournament, and we still feel as though we’ve got the squad to do that.”