Matthew Wade
Australia’s big-hitter Matthew Wade was the star during the semifinal against Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Image Credit: ANI

Two Tasmanian teams New Zealand and Australia have made it to the finals of the seventh edition of the T20 World Cup. It proves that it is not only playing conditions that matter but also peaking at the right time and having the right team combination which are key attributes for being successful in the shortest format of the game which is unpredictable, fast and furious.

When the tournament began three weeks ago, no cricket pundit thought New Zealand or Australia would make it to the knockouts and in fact England, India, West Indies and Pakistan - the four favourites - were the first picks by the experts because of their firepower and also because of the conditions in the UAE which was expected to help the two Asian countries.

Favourites flopped

India and Pakistan were in the same group - which also featured New Zealand - and it was predicted both teams would make it to the semifinals whereas it was England and West Indies expected to make it to the last four in the so-called ‘group of death’ which had Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. India were expected to do well because of having just played in the IPL but the favourites exited the tournament having lost to both Pakistan and New Zealand. West Indies flopped in the other group and looked a pale shadow of the past and won only one game against Bangladesh. Instead, it was Australia who made it from group one and they peaked at the right time along with strong favourites England.

Both semifinals went to the wire and New Zealand and Australia both came from behind after chasing the game to beat England and Pakistan respectively and will now be fighting it out for the elusive trophy which will give us a new winner in the T20 format tomorrow.

Australia who have won 5 50-over World Cup titles had once made it to the finals in 2010 where they were beaten by eventual champions England and it would be New Zealand’s first shot at glory at the T20 format. They came close in 2019 to winning the 50-over World Cup but were unlucky to be pipped by England at Lord’s.

Crucial moments

What these two teams have proved by making it to the final is that it’s not only conditions and firepower which matter but right team combination, peaking at the right time and most importantly winning the crucial moments in the game.

New Zealand who were down and out against England came back thanks to Jimmy Neesham and Daryl Mitchell when the pair hit 23 runs off Chris Jordan’s 16th over to stun England while Australia who were 96/5 chasing 176 won the game thanks to Mathew Wade and Marcus Stoins who kept their cool to snatch victory from Pakistan.

Both teams had enough match winners and most importantly had all-rounders like Neesham and Stoinis who contributed both with the bat and ball and that’s what finally mattered in taking their teams to the final.