Australia vs New Zealand men’s T20 World Cup final blog from Dubai

Welcome to Wisden’s live match centre for the T20 World Cup 2021 fixture between Australia and South Africa in Abu Dhabi on October 23. The match will act as the curtain-raiser for the Super 12 stages of the ICC tournament.

Australia complete a tense win

Australia v South Africa: Live scorecard

That’s it from here. We had a rollercoaster game with Australia and South Africa switching roles for a bit, but in the end, it’s a result that was anticipated after a dismal first innings. Head over to our England – West Indies live blog to get upto date with the updates from Dubai.

Australia win!

This turned out to be a humdinger. WE DID NOT ANTICIPATE THAT AFTER THE FIRST INNINGS. Credit to South Africa’s bowlers for making a game out of nothing and nearly defending a below par total. This was always Australia’s game to lose after their brilliant bowling powerplay. Relax folks, we at least got a good contest.

Over 19: Aus 111-5 – The dropped chance and the slower ball

I am not one to completely diss the slow ball tactic by pacers, but when you can bowl 150 kph snorters, why use a 114 kph short ball and conceded a boundary with the game on the line? Marcus Stoinis gets Australia closer after Nortje shells a difficult return catch. 8 to win off 6 balls.

Over 17: Aus 94-5 – Not inspiring much confidence

Australia’s last five scores in T20Is before today (latest first)62 (lost), 105-7 (lost), 117-4 (won), 121-7 (lost), 108 (lost). 

All of that came against different Men in Green on sluggish wickets.

UPDATE: They do! South Africa are in this still, folks

ANOTHE WICKET! It’s Glenn Maxwell cleaned up by Shamsi and this game is truly alive now. If you are an Australian fan, start biting your nails. If you are a South African fan, well, you are already biting yours since the World Cup was announced.

Over 14.5: Aus 80-4 – FLYING MARKRAM!

If you were just about to go through the next TV show after that good, old fashioned grind from Steve Smith, return. iden Marlkram’s just taken a proper screamer at long-on to send him back. But we aren’t falling for it again unless South Africa can follow this up with another.Marcus Stoinis, groomed to be the finisher by Ricky Ponting at Delhi Capitals, is in. 38 from 30 balls now.

Over 13: Aus 68-3 – Where are all those guys dissing Steve Smith?

Steve Smith is no great T20 batter, but he is chasing no great T20 score here, and is taking Australia home rather unglamorously. He’s even swayed Maxwell to play it his way. Guess what, it’s working!

Over 9: Aus 43-3 – It’s tense out there

This is Australia doing a South Africa…well, almost. Inside edges, oohs and aahs from everywhere and in between all the drama, Quinton de Kock fumbles a run out chance and Glenn Maxwell lives on. South Africa in these tournaments, I tell you. WinViz still has them at 30% chance, says CricViz, but you know better than that. What do you think?

Don’t say it out loud yet, but Australia could be in trouble

I know, I know, it’s tempting, but trust me guys. I know the Proteas. This isn’t happening. That said, unless RCB Maxwell turns up, 38-3 isn’t too promising for the Aussies here despite the low target. Keshav Maharaj, whose selection has been criticised as he only recently made his T20I debut (as captain, mind you!), sends back the in-from Mitchell Marsh.

Over 7: Aus – 33-2 – Tabraiz Shamsi’s overs could decide this game

Since 2020 in T20Is, no spinner has more T20I wickets than Tabraiz Shamsi. No wickets for him in his first over, but South Africa would hope he adds more to his tally in the next three overs.

Not to scare the Aussie fans, but South Africa were six runs ahead at this stage, albeit with one wicket more lost.

Over 4.2: Aus 20-2 – Warner v Rabada

Rabada had dismissed Warner four times in T20s before today and adds one more to it today. He is rightly pumped up and South Africa probably need to give him an extra over here to make a game out of this. Don’t give up yet,  South Africa fans.

Over 4: Aus 16-1 – Australia are prepared to play the waiting game

There’s no reason for Australia to hurry through this, and they rightly don’t. Seeing off Rabada and Nortje should ease some of their problems at least and Marsh, notably walking in at No.3 ahead of Steve Smith after his returns at the position in West Indies and Bangladesh, and Warner do the same.

Update: They get the early one!

Upper cut to third man is a very old-fashioned dismissal, but this is turning out to be a T20 game from the 2000s already. Aaron Finch gets a duck, but South Africa have no breathing space with that total. If they defend this, it will be the lowest successfully defended total at the T20 World Cup (omitting rain-affected games).

Over 1: Aus 2-0 – Rabada’s fired up

The fist bump was all good, but Rabada appears to be pumped up here. 139kph, 139kph, 140 kph, 141kph, 146 kph (wide), 141 kph, 144 kph in that over! All heat, no rewards yet. South Africa need early wickets.

All eyes on David Warner

My colleague thinks he has “lost his aura”. Sunrisers Hyderabad obviously think so too. But if there’s anything you learnt from MS Dhoni, it is that you do not write off legends. He loves the Proteas and has the most runs in T20Is against them.

End of innings: SA 118-9 – That will take some defending

The lowest totals successfully defended in a T20 World Cup (rain-shortened games ignored)

119 – SL v NZ – 2014

123-7 – AFG v WI – 2016

126-7 – NZ v IND – 2016

Scratch the previous taunt

Rabada’s just hit a one-handed six off Mitchell Starc in Rishabh Pant style!

Over 19: SA 106-8 – Cummins is after Rabada’s head

He hit Rabada on the helmet grille earlier, and nearly takes his head out with another this over. Pretty certain, the South African quick is seething underneath those helmets. He can’t even say ‘see you in the next innings’ with this total. Sigh! But, all good as the two share fist bumps after that over.

Probably the last six

Update: Aiden Markram’s holed out, so that’s probably the last six, not to make light of Kagiso Rabada’s stand-and-deliver smash down the ground off Hazlewood the previous over.

Over 16.1: SA 92-7 – The first six

South Africa have realised it is the death overs already and Aiden Markram pulls Josh Hazlewood for the first six of the innings. IN THE 17TH OVER. If you haven’t woken up to the reality that the World Cup is here, South Africa are making sure you do.

Comical run out alert!

I said earlier this innings needs a comical run out to go a full circle and Keshav Maharaj takes it as my wish and does due diligence.

Over 14: SA 82-6 – Zampa takes offence at the stat

Looks like Zampa’s didn’t quite like that stat about being second-best. He has now gone past Ashton Agar as Australia’s highest wicket-taker in T20Is since 2020 with two wickets in one over. This game is dead already, sorry Markram.

Over 13.3: SA 80-5 – No Miller magic

He did finally look to swat one with a wild sweep, but misses it entirely. C̵h̵r̵i̵s̵ ̵M̵o̵r̵r̵i̵s̵ ̵i̵n̵ ̵n̵e̵x̵t̵ We are officially into the tail, although Pretorius might take offence at that, after a wasted review (only hitting middle stump in the center).

Over 12: SA 71-4 – Maxwell 4-0-24-1

Australia won’t need a sixth bowler here. Maxwell’s finished his quota with minimum damage – six runs per over and a wicket. Just about sums up where South Africa have gone wrong with their approach. All this innings needs now is a comical run out, South African batters’ favourite dismissal mode in World Cups.

Over 11: SA 63-4 – Oh, some chatter

A bump ball that Zampa drops anyway, Matthew Wade trying to be too cheeky with a throw only for David Miller to throw some words…a bit happening, but mostly stuff that does not actually matter in the ‘who’s winning the match?’ question. South Africa need Killer Miller. Right now, he is hardly swatting a fly.

Over 9: SA 55-4 – The head of the tail is almost visible

Two months back, Markram could barely cut into South Africa’s T20I XI. He is now expected to bail them out of the hole they have dug up for themselves. He is taking the Temba route and creaming those drives against Starc, but hopefully that’s where the similarities end. Hey, we would appreciate a bit of fight.

Over 7: SA 39-3 – Wicket-taker Zampa into  the attack

Since 2020, only one Australian bowler has more wickets than Adam Zampa in T20Is and he was surprisingly left out of the XI this morning. South Africa do not want him to settle down and take 10 of the over. While a leg-spinner, Zampa’s economy rate is above eight against right-handers since 2020 and quite a bit lesser against lefties.

Over 4.1: SA 23-3 – Brainfade or execution gone wrong?

Horrendous from Quinton de Kock at first glance that, but that essentially is his escape shot in the powerplay overs against pace. In the T20I series against England last year, he used it quite effectively to take on Jofra Archer over fine leg and square leg. Found the execution perfectly in the IPL too, but gets it wrong here as he chops on in weird fashion. Alright, time for R̵i̵l̵e̵e̵ ̵R̵o̵s̵s̵o̵u̵w̵ Heinrich Klaasen. Don’t bring in the 2007 ODI World Cup semi-finals yet, guys. Give them a breather. It’s a World Cup after all and brainfades are their birthright.

Over 2.1: SA 16-2 – Get in, Hazlewood

He didn’t watch the 2019 ODI World Cup as it was too painful to not be in the team, but Hazlewood is relishing his first ICC limited-overs tournament in the last five years. He gets big-hope Rassie with his first delivery in the tournament. In walks A̵B̵ ̵d̵e̵ ̵V̵i̵l̵l̵i̵e̵r̵s̵ Aiden Markram.

Right then, South Africa finally get the two players who should have opened the batting together in the first place.

Over 2: SA 13-1 – The match-up works in reverse

Bavuma nearly had us drooling over those two cover drives in the first over off Starc, but Australia were rightly more worried about de Kock at the other end and brought in the tactical match-up: the off-spinner in Glenn Maxwell. It works too, only not on de Kock. Bavuma is cleaned up with one that skids on and it’s F̵a̵f̵ Rassie time in Abu Dhabi. A win for Australia as they not only get a wicket, but also get one over out of the part-timer. Remember, Australia have only four frontline bowlers today.

Here we go…

Mitchell Starc with the new ball. He has dismissed Quinton de Kock twice in the last three times these teams faced off. Temba Bavuma will partner de Kock with a lot of scrutiny on his scoring rate. While de Kock has the best powerplay strike-rate in T20Is since 2020 with a base filter, Bavuma is a proper anchor. In the two warm-up games, he made scores of 31 (39) and 46 (42).

Australia’s Test bowling line-up

The Australian pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins steaming in is a familiar sight in Test cricket. But this is actually the first time they will all play a T20I together.

Playing XIs

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma (c), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi

Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.

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