DUBAI: A clinical unbeaten knock from Mitchell Marsh (77 not out off 50 balls) along with a crucial half-century by David Warner (53 off 38 balls) and a superlative spell by Josh Hazlewood (3/16) powered Australia to win their first Men's T20 World Cup trophy, defeating New Zealand by eight wickets in the final at the Dubai International Stadium here on Sunday. Facing a target of 173, the biggest chase in a Men's T20 World Cup final, Australia reached home with seven balls to spare.
This is Australia's first silverware in a format that eluded them for a long time, thereby completing their cabinet of white-ball ICC trophies.
Hazlewood was the standout bowler as New Zealand made 172/4 in their 20 overs, thanks to Kane Williamson's whirlwind 85 off 48 balls. Marsh and Warner put up a brilliant partnership of 92 runs after losing Aaron Finch early. After Warner fell, Marsh joined forces with Glenn Maxwell (28 not out off 18 balls) to take Australia home.
Warner began by taking back-to-back boundaries off Tim Southee in the second over. In the next over, Finch chipped Trent Boult over long-off for a boundary. But Boult had the last laugh as Finch top-edged a pull to a running deep square leg taking a diving catch. Marsh welcomed Adam Milne by whacking his first three deliveries for a six and two fours. But the right-arm pacer conceded just three runs in the final over as Australia reached 43/1 at the end of Power-play.
Post Power-play, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi kept things tight but Marsh and Warner were quick to thwart the plans of stemming the run-flow. While Marsh slog-swept Santner for a six over deep square leg, Warner slammed Sodhi for two fours and a gigantic six straight down the ground. Marsh welcomed James Neesham in the 11th over with a six over fine leg. It was followed by Warner reaching his half-century in 34 balls with a hoicked six over deep mid-wicket.
Boult provided a much-needed breakthrough in the 13th over by dislodging Warner's stumps. In the next over, Marsh brought up his half-century in 31 balls with a flat slog over long-on off Sodhi, bettering Kane Williamson's record for the fastest fifty in Men's T20 World Cup final. Two balls later, he went on to smash Sodhi for a pull through mid-wicket.
Glenn Maxwell took a brace of boundaries against Milne and Southee in 15th and 16th overs as Australia inched closer to the target. Marsh struck two more boundaries before Maxwell finished off the chase with a reverse-swipe past third man to send Australia into the celebratory mood.
Earlier, Williamson played a classy knock to ensure New Zealand set a competitive total after losing the toss. Hazlewood bowled three of his four overs for just 11 runs, including 14 dot balls, and took Daryl Mitchell's wicket in the fourth over. Hazlewood slipped a slower delivery around off, foxing Mitchell in nicking behind to a forward-diving Matthew Wade. Australia kept New Zealand on a tight leash, resulting in only 32 runs in the Power-play.
Williamson broke the 32-ball boundary drought with back-to-back fours through extra cover and cow corner against Marsh in the ninth over. Williamson had a breather in the 11th over as Hazlewood spilled the catch at long leg off Mitchell Starc, with the ball rolling for four. On the next ball, Williamson muscled a straight drive before pulling over deep mid-wicket on a no-ball to complete a hat-trick of boundaries.
In a bid to get moving, Guptill brought out the slog-sweep against Adam Zampa in the next over but mistimed to deep mid-wicket. But Williamson marched on to smash consecutive sixes over deep mid-wicket to reach his half-century in just 32 balls, the fastest fifty in a men's T20 World Cup final. Glenn Phillips, promoted to No 4, took two boundaries off Zampa's final over as New Zealand continued the run-flow.
Williamson went berserk in the 16th over, smacking Starc for 22 runs, including four fours and a six. But Australia bounced back in the 18th over as Hazlewood took out Phillips followed by Williamson in four balls. Neesham and Tim Seifert hit a boundary each as New Zealand took 23 runs off the last two overs, which wasn't enough to deny Australia a trophy that they had never won before. IANS