T20 WORLD CUP 2021 FINAL: 4 TALKING POINTS
S. SOORAJ | 15th November 2021
The most decorated trophy cabinet in the world has one more addition now, and this time, it’s a new piece of silverware.
After a 14-year wait, Australia finally lay their hands on their first ever T20 World Cup trophy, etching their place as the greatest ever international side in cricket history with the most ICC trophies altogether.
The Aussies cruise past New Zealand in a repeat of the 2015 World Cup final, painting UAE yellow yet again.
Coming into this tournament, the Australians had tasted defeat in their two T20 series’ against West Indies and Bangladesh. To say they were considered favorites would be false and yet here they are, making all their critics sound and look like amateurs.
Here are the 4 talking points from a final that left us with a lot to say.
1. The toss tax strikes again
If there has been one complaint about the T20 World Cup as well as the second phase of IPL before this, it is that winning the toss has gone from being an advantage to becoming a cheat code for the victors of the spin of the coin.
There is some weight to this frustration, considering that Aaron Finch has won six out of the seven tosses in UAE, including the final and interestingly enough, the only match that the Aussies have lost is where the coin spun in a different direction for once.
And especially on the Dubai pitch, no team in the IPL as well as the T20 World Cup final has defended a total, other than the Chennai Super Kings who were quite easily the standout team in the competition.
This further proves the theory that only a herculean effort can ensure that the side that bats first takes home the win.
In T20 cricket, where the margins of uncertainty are at next to nil, patterns of such predictability are the bane of such a high-octane format.
Credit cannot be taken away from the champions but the toss’ role cannot be downplayed simultaneously.
2. Williamson makes a statement on why batters like him will never be outdated in T20 cricket
Kane Williamson hasn’t ever screamed ‘T20 big hitter’. Before the final, the Black Caps skipper had a strike rate of 90, the lowest among any batter in the T20 World Cup history before the final but it should have never been a cause for concern.
Not only because Williamson is one of the finest of his generation but because his grounding in the longer formats allows him to anchor an innings in a manner that makes him priceless when adversity strikes.
85 off 48 deliveries reads as a Kieron Pollard blitz when in fact, it is nothing more than a culmination of Williamson’s bags of experience in formats where a one-note approach will inevitably be punished and using this expertise to pace an innings to perfection.
At the highest stage of them all, an orthodox batter conquered T20 cricket and if that’s not a statement, what is?
3. Mitchell Marsh has finally proven all his doubters wrong
When Mitchell Marsh hit Tim Southee for four, ran across the pitch and was down on his knees out of pure emotion, we witnessed the power of patience and perseverance.
The 31-year old has been around for a long time and a string of injuries have always been the barrier, keeping him and steady place in the Australian side on opposite ends of the spectrum.
But 2021 has been kind to him, letting him play the most amount of consistent cricket he ever has in his career and Mitch has proven the skeptics wrong in fine fashion.
And all the stars aligned for the pace-bowling all-rounder who repaid the faith of Australian team management who had banked on his prodigious talent from day one.
In the form of his life, Marsh mauled the Kiwi bowling from ball 1, smashing 14 runs off just his first 3 deliveries.
And from there on, it was absolute carnage as doubled with his mate Warner to show no mercy on the New Zealand bowlers throughout.
While there have a lot of questions over investing on this lad over the years, he has silenced the critics with a performance that etches him into Australian cricketing folklore forever.
4. Josh Hazlewood is tailor-made for the big occasion
A month ago, Josh Hazlewood was sublime with the ball for the Chennai Super Kings, rising to the task of helping them defend an admittedly sizeable 192 on board in the IPL final against KKR.
And now, in a different yellow outfit, Hazlewood struck gold for Australia, making sure that the Kiwis onslaught stays in check.
No surprises however as the towering pacer has been impeccable throughout the tournament, especially in the powerplay and has been Australia’s gun bowler in UAE.
Mitchell Starc, the hero of the 2015 World Cup, being thrashed to all corners meant the Australians needed a savior or risk making the final a no-contest and Hazlewood delivered.
Figures of 3/16 in his four overs made the man New South Wales the pick of the bowlers quite easily and another stunning big-game display just proves that Josh Reginald Hazlewood loves the big occasions.