- Australia beat New Zealand by eight wickets
- Claim maiden T20 World Cup trophy in Dubai
- Marsh and Warner shine for the champions
- Williamson’s valiant effort ends in defeat
DUBAI, Nov 14 (Reuters) – It took Australia seven attempts but under Aaron Finch they finally laid their hands on a maiden Twenty20 World Cup title on Sunday with an eight-wicket triumph over New Zealand.
The 20-overs trophy drought for one-day cricket’s most successful team was an aberration for Finch, who had oozed confidence that Australia would be “rectifying” the wrong.
Mitchell Marsh and David Warner combined for a 92-run stand to trump New Zealand captain Kane Williamson’s side after his masterly knock had taken them to a competitive total.
Williamson capitalised on an early reprieve to fire his team to 172-4 which they failed to defend in the end.
It was a stunning turnaround for an Australia team which had lost five T20 series on the trot heading into the World Cup.
They came into their own only in the semi-finals when they stunned former champions Pakistan, the tournament’s only unbeaten team until then.
Awaiting them in the final were reigning test champions New Zealand, easily the game’s best cross-format side, who have made a habit of reaching the finals of global events.
Six years after beating New Zealand to win a fifth ODI World Cup, Australia lifted their first men’s 20-overs world title.
Fireworks lit up the sky to celebrate the success of a team which had been written off after their wretched build-up.
Before that, Warner and Marsh had treated the crowd at the Dubai International Stadium with their batting pyrotechnics.
Warner’s own performance reflected his team’s extraordinary journey in the tournament.
His place in the side was debated after his Indian Premier League franchise dropped the left-hander from their squad.
Warner struggled in the warm-up matches but regained his mojo and strung together scores of 89 not out, 49 and 53 in their last three matches.
He walked away with the man-of-the-tournament and Finch was not surprised.
“You didn’t expect that? I certainly did,” the Australia captain told reporters.
“He’s someone who when his back is against the wall, that’s when you get the very, very best of David Warner.”
Marsh was adjudged man-of-the match for his unbeaten 77 not out off 50 balls, which trumped Williamson’s 85 off 48 balls.
Thirty four years after his father Geoff helped Australia win their maiden ODI World Cup, Marsh played a key role in helping his country win their first 20-overs world crown.
For New Zealand, who finished runners-up to England in the 2019 ODI World Cup, it was yet another white-ball heartbreak.
Graceful as ever, the 31-year-old Williamson was fulsome in his praise for Australia while proud of his team’s display.
“If you look at the campaign as a whole, and the type of cricket that we have been able to play, I can say that we are very proud of our efforts throughout this period of time.
“You get to a final and anything can happen,” he added.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by Ken Ferris
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