Winning the toss and chasing will be on the minds of both Aaron Finch and Kane Williamson when Australia meet New Zealand in the final of the T20 World Cup at the iconic Dubai Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
In the last 17 matches played at the Dubai Cricket Stadium, 16 have been won by the chasing teams, and going by the semi-final which was played there between Pakistan and Australia on Thursday, both captains would definitely like to bat second if they win the toss.
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However, it’s going to be a freshly laid pitch for the final and should be good for batting. If the team batting first can put on a score of 180, it can be defended as long as they make sure to capitalise on every chance they get. Pakistan had Australia on the mat at 96/5 in 12 overs in their semi-final but they did not grab the run-out chances and Hassan Ali dropping Mathew Wade in the 19th over cost Pakistan dearly.
Chennai Super Kings were put in to bat by Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL final and they put on 192 batting first. They managed to defend it in spite of KKR’s good start to the chase. To maintain the run rate of nine per over in a pressure game is not easy and both teams will be aware of the fact that if you win the toss it does not guarantee you a win, if the opposition puts on a healthy score of 180-plus.
Australia and New Zealand both have quality spinners with the Kiwi’s boasting Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner in their ranks, while Finch’s team have the likes of Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell. With the boundaries being big in Dubai, all four spinners will come in to play, as you saw in both the semis where the likes of Liam Livingstone, Adam Zampa and Shadab Khan having good games with the ball.
Both skippers would not only like to win the toss but also lead from the front as neither has had a great tournament so far, with Williamson scoring just 131 and Finch 119.
Come the big final on Sunday, it’s going to test the nerves of both captains — especially Williamson, whose team have not won a knockout game against Australia since 1981. The odds may favour Australia, but count New Zealand out on your peril — whosoever wins we shall have new T20 World Cup champions this year.