Five months after winning the inaugural World Test Championship in Southampton, New Zealand are now just a tiny step away from clinching their first ever T20 World Cup trophy. Captain Kane Williamson is excited at about doing the double but made it clear that New Zealand aren’t getting ahead of themselves.
“It’d be some achievement [doing the double],” Williamson said at the pre-final press conference. “But 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 the things that are important to us. These sort of events are of focus in the calendar and it’s a really exciting opportunity to be here now and looking forward to the match tomorrow.”
Tim Seifert to come in place of injured Conway
New Zealand will be without wicketkeeper-batter Devon Conway who suffered a self-inflicted right-hand fracture during the semi-final against England. Williamson confirmed that Tim Seifert, who has played all of one game in the main tournament, will step back into the playing XI to replace Conway.
“There’s a good sort of mix of youth and experience,” Williamson said. “Some of the younger players – they keep coming through in all teams. [They] love to hit the ball out of the park and [are] really exciting talents and someone like Tim Seifert coming in is very much like that. Obviously, the loss of Devon is a big one. He’s been a big part of all formats for us and a disappointing and really freak thing to happen but for us, it’s keeping our focus on the task.”
Williamson aware of the “Zampa threat”
“Adam Zampa is a world-class bowler and one of the top [bowlers] in the world and complemented nicely by obviously some of the top seamers in the world,” Williamson said. “As a side, they’ve got a lot of match-winners and that’s a large part of their strength in their team.
They’ve got world-class cricketers throughout. For us, we want to bring our focus to the cricket we want to play and make sure that’s the most important thing. And go out there and enjoy the occasion and take it on in our style.”
Interesting Facts to know before the Final
- New Zealand have never beaten Australia in any knockout match. They have played each in 17 quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals, out of which Australia have won 16. The one that New Zealand won wasn’t a knockout but the first of the best-of-three finals in 1981, a series that New Zealand eventually lost. Australia have won all the four knockout matches between them at ICC events.
- Both captains are having a poor tournament with the bat. Kane Williamson has scored 131 runs at under a run a ball, and Aaron Finch has scored at a rate of just 119 despite being an opener and getting to bat in the powerplay. Finch, though, has done much better at the toss, winning five to Williamson’s two.
- A first T20 World Cup champion is guaranteed from the Southern Hemisphere.