Beating Oman by 39 runs in the first match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers, Nepal have started the tournament off with a bang at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Al Amerat.
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Nepal have failed to qualify for the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Global Qualifier.
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Australia won the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 as Mitchell Marsh and David Warner hit half-centuries to chase down 173 with ease at the Dubai International Stadium.
Back in 2020, the Australian women's team won the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in front of a record crowd at home at the MCG. Now, in 2021, the men have joined them as champions of the format and will go into the next edition in 2022, which will be held at home, as the defending champions.
Australia are no strangers to World Cup glory, having won the men's 50-over title five times. However, until now, they had never quite cracked the 20-over format at the biggest stage, coming closest only in 2010, when they lost the final to England.
They came into this edition unfancied and undercooked, rarely having played together in T20Is and ranked outside of the top five in the format. Their squad was made up of stars, but many of them had not played the format for Australia very much, showcasing their prowess in Tests and ODIs instead while being rested for T20Is. Unlike some other teams, Australia did not seem to be overly driven by analytics either. There were also questions asked about coach Justin Langer's style and hold over the dressing room.
But it all came together for them. They were slow starters in the tournament. However, doing the basics right, with a group of very skilled cricketers, they went from strength to strength. Peaking at the right time, several players made match-winning contributions and they ended up lifting an elusive trophy.
Here's their journey to making it happen.
1st match, v South Africa: Won by five wickets
Australia's bowlers got them off to a solid start, keeping their plans simple to an in-form South African line-up. Josh Hazlewood (2/19) and Glenn Maxwell proved hard to get away early on, before Adam Zampa struck twice in the middle overs.
A target of 119 should have been straightforward, but the Australian openers were undone by pace and the middle order kept in check by the spinners. At 81/5, they still needed 38 off the last 28 balls.
It took an unbeaten 40-run stand off just 26 balls between Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis to see them to safety with two balls to spare. And it wouldn't be the last time the duo would pull off a rescue act.
2nd match, v Sri Lanka: Won by seven wickets
David Warner's return to form and the combination of Zampa and Mitchell Starc in the middle overs with the ball ensured Australia's second straight win in the Super 12 stage.
Put in, Sri Lanka raced away to 78/1 in the 10th over before Zampa's leg-spin and Starc's searing yorker pulled things back. The Islanders collapsed to 94/5, before finishing on 154/6.
Warner, who had come in for criticism for his poor form, added 70 for the first wicket with Finch in just 6.5 overs. His half-century set them up to overhaul the target in just 17 overs.
3rd match, v England: Lost by eight wickets
Batting first for the first time in the tournament, Australia were brushed aside by England in a game coach Justin Langer later described as "sobering".
Chris Woakes' accuracy and the spin of Adil Rashid and Liam Livingstone reduced Australia to 51/5. Pat Cummins and Starc struck a few sixes at the end to give them something to defend.
But the target of 126 was never going to be enough against England. Jos Buttler was in imperious touch. Where the Australian batters were unable to find another gear on a difficult pitch, Buttler dug in before exploding.
England knocked off the runs in just 11.4 overs, striking a body blow to Australia's net run rate.
4th match, v Bangladesh: Won by eight wickets
In danger of being knocked out from the 'group of death' because of NRR, Australia quickly made up with a big win against a hapless Bangladesh side.
Zampa picked up a five-for after the pacers struck in the Powerplay, to bundle Bangladesh out for 73.
Finch dominated the chase, striking four sixes in his 40 off just 20 balls, while Mitchell Marsh validated his selection with three boundaries in five balls to finish the chase in just 6.2 overs.
5th match, v West Indies: Won by eight wickets
Warner continued his fine form and Marsh confirmed that Australia had finally struck the right balance with their batting as the team put themselves in a good position to make the semi-final.
Hazlewood bowled good lengths to halt a frenetic West Indies start and finish with four wickets. Warner and Marsh then added 124 in just 75 balls, with both of them bringing up half-centuries to chase down 158.
Although South Africa won later in the day, so that all of England, Australia and South Africa had four wins in the group, it was Australia joining England in the semi-final, thanks to their improved NRR.
Semi-final, v Pakistan: Won by five wickets
Like so many times before in the tournament, Australia seemed down and out before they fought back.
An unbeaten Pakistan side punished the bowlers, as fifties from Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman took them 176/4.
At 96/5, and then needing 62 from the last five overs, Australia were in trouble before Wade and Stoinis swung for the ropes. Shaheen Afridi, one of Pakistan's brightest spots all tournament, had Wade dropped and was carted for sixes off his last three balls.
An improbable chase was completed with a full over to spare.
Final, v New Zealand: Won by eight wickets
Australia's performance in the final followed the same formula that made them successful through the tournament: accurate Powerplay bowling, good figures for Zampa, and another Warner-Marsh special.
Hazlewood again enjoyed an excellent Powerplay, with his accurate line and length going for just 11 runs in his first spell of three overs. However, he dropped Kane Williamson and the New Zealand captain made them pay, changing gears to race away to 85 in just 48 balls. Starc came in for particular punishment, going for 60 in his four overs, as New Zealand posted a challenging 172/4.
However, Warner and Marsh never let the target seem too steep. Warner made 53 in just 38 balls, while Marsh, who began with a six first ball, took apart the Black Caps' pacers and spinners. Needing to go at a run a ball in the last four, they eased to victory with plenty to spare. Marsh finished with an incredible 77* in 50 balls, with four sixes and six fours.
And then there were two. Forty-four matches and 25 days on from the opening delivery in Oman, the finalists for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 have been decided.
KATHMANDU, November 12: New Zealand were the first team to secure their spot in the decider, winning a thrilling semi-final against 2016 runners-up England, triumphing in a match that was billed as a rematch of their 2019 Cricket World Cup final.
It is the third straight ICC final they have made across three formats, having taken out the inaugural World Test championship earlier this year and finished runners-up in the aforementioned Cricket World Cup. They were also runners-up in 2015, giving them a run of three World Cup finals across four limited-overs competitions, with the 2016 T20 World Cup the outlier.
Australia qualified for the decider after beating Pakistan in Thursday's second semi-final.
Chasing 177 to win, the Australians looked in trouble at 157 in the 19th over only for the match to swing in the space of three balls as Matthew Wade followed up a dropped catch in the deep with three consecutive sixes to seal the game.
New Zealand v Australia, 6pm local, Sunday, 14 November
Road to the final
New Zealand's T20 World Cup campaign got off to a rocky start when they were defeated by five wickets by Pakistan in their opening match. Just as when Pakistan beat India, the nature of the loss raised question marks over New Zealand's credentials as contenders.
They quickly put those questions to bed by trouncing India by eight wickets as their all-star attack dismantled a highly vaunted batting order. It was Trent Boult who did the majority of the damage as India were restricted to just 110, and the Kiwis chased it down with five and a half overs remaining.
Scotland pushed them in their third match, coming within 16 runs of chasing down a target of 172 and there was a scare against Namibia too, but by the time the Black Caps reached their final group match, they had their fate in their own hands.
And they made no mistake against Afghanistan to once again seal their spot in the finals of an ICC event. It was Boult and Tim Southee who did much of the damage to restrict Afghanistan to 124/8, and the chase was conservative but comfortable.
In the semi-final, they were pitted against England, with it quickly becoming impossible to ignore the elephant in the room that was the 2019 Cricket World Cup final, when New Zealand lost by what Ian Smith called "the barest of margins" at the time. In the lead-up to their rematch in Abu Dhabi, ICC commentator Mike Atherton backed England to win "by the barest of margins again". For much of the game that looked set to be the case, with New Zealand struggling to get going chasing a target of 167.
With New Zealand needing 57 from 24, Jimmy Neesham turned the tide of the game in a 23-run over in which he contributed 19. In scenes reminiscent of Trent Boult stepping on the ropes off as he caught Ben Stokes in the 2019 final, Jonny Bairstow's knee kissed the advertising cushions to grant Neesham a reprieve in the fourth ball of an expensive over. Daryl Mitchell saw the Kiwis home, finishing unbeaten on 72 off 47 to win with an over to spare.
Daryl Mitchell - Surprisingly moved to the top of the order this tournament, Mitchell has brought impetus to the Black Caps to the Powerplay and allowed them the assuredness of Devon Conway in the middle-order. The signs were promising in New Zealand's opening loss against Pakistan where he made 27 off 20, and he impressed in their crucial win over India with 49 off 35, but he was starting to look an ill-fit for the role going into the semi-finals.
It was here that he produced one of the tournament's finest innings to date, anchoring a chase of 167, before finishing with a bang to end not out on 72* off 47. It was an expert chase by the Kiwis and he was at the heart of it.
He is now their highest run-scorer for the tournament and will go into the final full of confidence.
Trent Boult - New Zealand's star fast bowler has been humming at the showpiece event, proving both dangerous and economical.
His 3/20 against India set New Zealand on a path that would see them win four matches on the bounce to reach the semi-finals, and he delivered a consistent quality throughout the Super 12 stage.
He had his first quiet match of the tournament in the semi-final, taking 0/40, and New Zealand will need him to rediscover his groove given the calibre of the top-order they find themselves again.
Road to the final
The final-over victory over South Africa at the start of the Super 12 stage felt like an important result at the time, and so it proved, with the five-wicket win meaning ultimately proving pivotal.
It was a match that always felt like it was in control for Australia, yet one that was consistently threatening to get away. With their all-star attack back together again, they had reduced South Africa to 23/3 inside the Powerplay and held them to 118/9.
That proved a far more difficult chase than they would have liked as they slipped to 38/3 and 81/5, only getting home with two balls to spare.
The campaign picked up steam from there as they dispatched Sri Lanka with ease, with openers Aaron Finch and David Warner both finding their groove.
That momentum they had built dissipated quickly as they were crushed by England by eight wickets with 50 balls to spare. Just as the narrow victory over South Africa had felt vital, so too did this one feel potentially a tournament ending as it had decimated their net-run rate.
Thankfully, from an Australian perspective, that NRR damage was short-lived, as they bowled Bangladesh out for 73 next up. The fact that Finch, Warner and Mitchell Marsh chased it down in just 38 balls more than made up for the run rate losses to England.
And another eight-wicket win over West Indies on the final day proved enough, though there was a nervous wait.
Qualification wasn’t confirmed even after that fourth win, with South Africa needing a victory and a significant but gettable run-rate swing against England to leapfrog the Australians. But while the Proteas got the win, they didn’t overturn the NRR difference, with Australia going through in second place to line up a semi-final against Pakistan.
Like New Zealand, Australia timed their chase perfectly, getting home with an over to spare in the tensest of matches.
Going into the 19th over they still needed 22 runs to win and the man bowling was the red-hot Shaheen Afridi. His first two balls were perfect, leaking just a leg bye.
His third was a wide down the legside and the repeat should have seen Matthew Wade perish as Hasan Ali failed to hold onto a catch at deep midwicket.
Not one to waste a second chance, Wade proceeded to scoop Shaheen's next delivery - a yorker on middle - over fine leg for six. He cleared his front leg to send the next delivery over midwicket, and then hit a third consecutive six to end the game.
David Warner – 236 runs at an average of 47.20 and David Warner has gone from Australia’s worry at the top of the order to their most in-form batter. He has a penchant for making runs at big tournaments, so his success here should not surprise anyone.
Warner has two half-centuries to his name this T20 World Cup but his most important performance where his 49 set the chase up for Australia.
With the southpaw in form, Australia have every reason to be confident going into the final.
Adam Zampa – Only Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga has taken more wickets than Australia’s x-factor spinner, and Zampa’s threat is a real boost to the attack. His ability through the middle overs has been particularly important for Australia, and it was he and Glenn Maxwell who put the brakes on Pakistan’s fast start before the leggie dismissed Babar Azam.
In an attack that featured Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, it speaks volumes that Zampa is undisputedly the star of the bowling pack.
If Australia goes all the way, he will be firmly in the running to be crowned Player of the Tournament status.
ICC Men's T20 World Cup
KATHMANDU, November 11: New Zealand sealed a spot in the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, 2021 beating England.
Daryl Michell was the hero as New Zealand chased down 167 in Abu Dhabi.
The Black Caps opener carried his bat in a stunning knock, producing a brilliant late display of power-hitting as New Zealand raced through the gears to avoid a nervy finish, winning with an over to spare.
Chris Woakes’ two early wickets in the Powerplay had restricted the Kiwi chase. But a steadying knock from Devon Conway and a quickfire 27 from James Neesham put New Zealand on top, with Chris Jordan's 16th over going for 23 runs to swing the match in New Zealand's favour.
And it was Mitchell who finished the job, hitting 25 off his last seven deliveries to win it with an over to spare.
Earlier, Ali and Dawid Malan helped England reach 166/4 in an occasionally scratchy first innings.
Scoring was slow and steady for much of England’s effort with the bat, with openers Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler steady but unspectacular through the Power Play, before Malan and Ali’s partnership rebuilt the innings.
Some big hits late on from Livingstone and Ali, who finished on 51*helped England to 166/4.
But England needed a big effort from their bowling attack to tie New Zealand down in the reply, and they were unable to do so, missing out on a third-straight place in a World Cup final.
KATHMANDU, October 31: England beat Australia by eight wickets in their Super 12 game at the ICC Men T20 World Cup 2021 on Saturday.
With this,England completed a thrashing to remain unbeaten in the Super 12 stage of the World Cup.
Jos Buttler led the carnage with the bat, smashing the Australian bowlers to all corners en route his 71* off just 32 balls, as England chased down 126 with eight wickets and 8.2 overs remaining.
Earlier, opting to bowl first, England made good use of the conditions to bundle Australia out for 125. Though the Aussies recovered from a horror start through Aaron Finch and the lower order, they failed to set up a total that would challenge the fiery England line-up.
Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan were the stars with the ball, accounting for five wickets between them, with Jordan named Player of the Match for figures of 3/17 in four overs.
KATHMANDU, October 24: Pakistan beat India by 10 wickets in the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup played at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday evening.
Pakistan brought to an end India’s near-three-decade domination of them on the world stage in the most convincing fashion, embarrassing their arch-rivals by 10 wickets in the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup.
Skipper Babar Azam stroked his way to 68 while his opening partner, Mohammad Rizwan, smashed 79 as the Indian bowlers struggled to contain the two batters.
Earlier, Virat Kohli’s half-century helped India recover from a disastrous start and post 151/7 against Pakistan in an ICC T20 World Cup match on Sunday. Besides Kohli’s 49-ball 57, Rishabh Pant slammed 39 in 30 deliveries.
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam won the toss and invited India to bat first but the early blows were landed by the men in green as openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul departed within three overs. Kohli and Pant then joined forces to add 53 runs in quick time before the latter was caught out by leg-spinner Shadab Khan (1/22 in four overs) off his own bowling in the 13th over.
KATHMANDU, October 23: The world cricket community is all set to witness one of the much-anticipated T20 World Cup clashes between India and Pakistan, scheduled to take place on Sunday.
India have won all its matches against Pakistan in the World Cup- both in ODI and T20 formats.
The two teams last met in the 2019 ODI World Cup in England and India last hosted Pakistan in a bilateral series in 2013.
The question here is, who will win on Sunday? Will Indian skipper Virat Kohli open the campaign on a winning note? Or will Pakistan captain Babar Azam end the losing streak? The stats are favouring India as Men in Blue have beaten Pakistan in all of their 12 matches at the T20 and 50-over World Cups.
With two-time World Cup-winning skipper MS Dhoni as the mentor of the team in World Cup 2021, the chances of Virat Kohli & Co. are higher to win the marquee clash. In the Indian dressing room, the morale will be boosted with the presence of Dhoni, who led India to the inaugural T20 World Cup win in 2007.
However, one can't ignore Pakistan's form as they come into the Super 12s contest with 10 wins in a row in the United Arab Emirates. For the team, the skipper himself is in top form with two T20 centuries this year. Bowlers like Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali can trouble any opposition.
Overall, India held a 7-1 advantage in the shortest format as Pakistan's only win came in a bilateral series which ended 1-1. But the result of India vs Pakistan on October 24 will be a new chapter in the career of Azam and Kohli.
Kohli has already announced that he will give up the India Twenty20 captaincy after the World Cup, so winning the title and the clash against Pakistan will be of huge significance. On the other hand, Sunday is an opportunity for Babar Azam to script history. (with inputs from agencies)
Indian Captaion Virat Kohli will step down as India's Twenty20 captain after the men's T20 World Cup in November.
The 32-year-old said he needed to "give himself space" to be "fully ready" to continuing leading India in Test cricket and one-day internationals.
Kohli, who has scored 3,159 runs in 90 T20 appearances for India, will continue to play in the format.
The T20 World Cup takes place from 17 October to 14 November in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
Kohli was appointed limited-overs captain in 2017, three years after taking over the Test captaincy.
He was named player of the series in the 2016 edition of the T20 World Cup under the captaincy of MS Dhoni.
"Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the past eight to nine years, I feel I need to give myself space," Kohli wrote in a statement on Twitter.
"I have given everything to the team in my time as T20 captain and I will continue to do so for the T20 team as a batsman moving forward."
Kohli led India to a 2-1 lead over England in the recent Test series before the final Test was cancelled, with the resolution of the series still to be determined.
He will captain Royal Challengers Bangalore when the Indian Premier League resumes on Sunday.