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T20 World Cup final: Australia wins toss, opt to bowl first against Kiwis

Australia and New Zealand will face off in the T20 World Cup final. Source: ICC

DUBAI: Australia and New Zealand will face off today (Sunday) in the final of the ICC’s Twenty20 World Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium to lift the trophy for the first time.

The match will begin at 7pm PST. After forty-four matches, 11153 runs and 485 wickets later, the 16 nations that began this thrilling tournament have been whittled down to just two,

Sunday’s showpiece at the Dubai International Stadium will see the world’s fourth-ranked side New Zealand take on the country ranked sixth, Australia.

Australia skipper Aaron Finch said his team came with a “clear plan” to win the World Cup and reaching the final against New Zealand came as no surprise to them.

The tournament showcasing cricket’s shortest format will witness a new winner in Dubai on Sunday after a clash between two teams that were not among the pre-competition favourites.

Australia made the semi-finals as the second-placed team behind England from their group but went on to beat Pakistan with a powerful performance in Thursday’s semi-final.

“Everyone had written us off, but we had a lot of confidence within. I think we came here with a really clear plan to win the tournament,” Finch told reporters. “We always felt as though we’ve got the depth of the squad and the quality in our squad to put ourselves in a position to do that.” He said: “No, it’s not unexpected.”

Finch praised the Black Caps who will be appearing in their third global final after winning the inaugural Test championship in June, two years after finishing runners-up in the 2019 World Cup.

“And New Zealand, they have been in every final for a long time now in ICC events,” said Finch. “They are a great team overall three formats of the game. They are a team that can never be under-estimated. But maybe people on the outside do.”

“Certainly inside, we don’t. They have got firepower, they have got experience, they have got class. No, I’m not surprised one bit.”

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said the team has “exciting talents” as they bid for a maiden Twenty20 World Cup title after losing Devon Conway to freak injury.

Tim Seifert is set to take over the wicketkeeping duties in Sunday’s final against Australia in Dubai. Conway, who broke his hand after punching his bat in an angry outburst following his dismissal in the semi-final win over England, was a second blow after the Kiwis lost Lockie Ferguson ahead of their opening match in the tournament.

New Zealand have been the team to beat in recent times after they ended up runners-up in the 2019 50-over World Cup and clinched the inaugural Test championship in June this year.

Both New Zealand and Australia have never won a T20 World Cup and the Kiwis will be playing in their first-ever final in the tournament. “It would be some achievement,” Williamson said on the prospect of winning two world trophies in a single year.

“But you know, where it stands at the moment is there’s a game of cricket to play, and for us, it’s focusing on that and focusing on our cricket and looking to go out there and implement those things that are important to us.”

The trans-Tasman rivals have a rich history of exciting contests and their title clash brings back memories of the 2015 ODI World Cup final in Melbourne when Australia outplayed New Zealand.