David Warner and Mitchell Marsh blast Australia to T20 World Cup final victory over New Zealand

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Australia waltzed to their maiden men’s T20 World Cup title, thrashing New Zealand by eight wickets in Dubai.

For Australia, the hero was Mitchell Marsh, who made a stunning unbeaten 77 from 50 balls at No3 as they chased 173 with seven balls to spare. But the senior players Josh Hazlewood (three for 16) and David Warner (53 from 38) stood up too. Adam Zampa’s terrific tournament was capped by figures of one for 26.

This was a triumph that felt unlikely a fortnight ago, when England trounced Australia at the same stadium. But, in their four wins since, they have looked a settled, savvy unit with Warner and Adam Zampa especially putting in excellent performances.

New Zealand’s wait for a white-ball world title goes on. They had much fall against them. Devon Conway was ruled out with a hand broken punching his bat. Kane Williamson then lost the toss, meaning New Zealand had to bat first, which the statistics say is so much harder in Dubai.

They had Williamson to thank for keeping them in the game, because New Zealand made a very modest start. With Martin Guptill struggling and Daryl Mitchell out, the Black Cape took just 57 from the first 10 overs. Williamson was quiet, too, making one from seven and 22 from 22.

And then Mitchell Starc’s second over, the 11th, happened. Starc bowled a low full toss, which Williamson fired to deep backward-square, where Josh Hazlewood dropped a very makable catch. The ball went for four, as did the next two, the last of which was a no-ball. The free hit went for two, and the over for 19.

Williamson targeted the last over from Glenn Maxwell, the fifth bowler, which cost 16, then took Starc down again. His third over cost 22: four fours and a six. It was stunning batting, full of skill and intent. Williamson received handy support from Glenn Phillips, who attacked Zampa.

Fortunately for Australia, Hazlewood’s bowling was as good as Starc’s was bad. He dismissed Phillips and Williamson in his final over to finish with three for 16, and peg New Zealand’s charge. Jimmy Neesham landed one big blow, but was unable to launch as he had against England. After their start, though, New Zealand will have been delighted with 172, the highest score in a T20 World Cup final.

New Zealand got the early breakthrough, Australia captain Aaron Finch, whose horrible run in World Cup knockouts continued: after three ducks in a row, he made five.

But that only brought Marsh and Warner together. Marsh launched his first ball for six, and made a flying start, standing tall and swinging hard. That allowed Warner time to settle, but he was soon picking off boundaries with ease, too.

Ish Sodhi’s legspin was dealt with particularly brutally, while Neesham’s only over went the distance too. Trent Boult returned to dismiss Warner, the tournament’s second-highest runscorer, but it already felt too late. Marsh – so deserving of this moment of glory – continued on his merry way, Glenn Maxwell threw the hands, and Australia got home with ease. Maxwell finished it in style, swatting a switch hit past short third.

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