Dubai, Nov 14 (IANS) A top-class knock from skipper Kane Williamson (85 off 48 balls) steered New Zealand to 172/4 in 20 overs against Australia in the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Stadium here on Sunday. From being dropped at 17, Williamson turned the corner with a classy show of shot placement and finding gaps to lift his team to an above-par total. For Australia, Josh Hazlewood was the pick of bowlers with 3/16 in four overs.
Electing to bowl first, Australia was able to keep New Zealand quiet in the Power-play. Hazlewood bowled three of his four overs for just 11 runs, including 14 dot balls, and took Daryl Mitchell’s wicket in the fourth over. Hazlewood set up Mitchell with two deliveries outside the off-stump before slipping a slower one around off, foxing Mitchell into nicking behind to a forward-diving Matthew Wade. After that, Australia kept New Zealand on a tight leash, resulting in 32 runs being made in the Power-play.
Williamson broke the 32-ball boundary drought with back-to-back fours through extra cover and cow corner against Mitchell Marsh in the ninth over. Williamson had a breather in the 11th over as Hazlewood spilled the catch at long-leg off Mitchell Starc, with the ball rolling for four. On the next ball, Williamson muscled a straight drive, before pulling over deep mid-wicket on a no-ball to complete a hat-trick of boundaries.
In a bid to get moving, Guptill brought out the slog-sweep against Adam Zampa in the next over but mistimed it to deep mid-wicket. But Williamson marched on to smash consecutive sixes over deep mid-wicket to reach his half-century in just 32 balls, the fastest fifty in a men’s T20 World Cup final. Glenn Phillips, promoted to No 4, took two boundaries off Zampa’s final over as New Zealand continued their run-scoring.
Williamson went berserk in the 16th over, smacking Starc for 22 runs, including four fours and a six. But Australia bounced back in the 18th over as Hazlewood took out Phillips followed by Williamson in four balls. James Neesham and Tim Seifert hit a boundary each as New Zealand took 23 runs off the last two overs.
Brief scores: New Zealand 172/4 in 20 overs (Kane Williamson 85, Martin Guptill 28, Josh Hazlewood 3-16, Adam Zampa 1-26) against Australia