Dubai, 14 November
Captain Kane Williamson was brutal and artistic during his beautifully crafted knock of 85, which took New Zealand to a competitive score of 172 for four against Australia in the T20 World Cup final here on Sunday.
Coming to bat, New Zealand literally struggled in the first 10 overs, with Martin Guptill’s painful 28 off 35 balls slowing down the proceedings.
Williamson took the stage with 10 fours and three sixes in his 47-ball knock with the grace of a ‘ballet dancer’.
In the ‘Grand Finale’ match, New Zealand scored an astonishing 115 runs in the last 10 overs.
Williamson was changing gears so easily that watching him play was a great experience. He got only 15 runs from the first 16 balls he faced as Adam Zampa was in the middle of a good spell, while Guptill’s poor form also impressed the captain.
But once, he decided he needed to move on, he hit all those copybook shots of his own accord—scoring 70 runs in the next 31 balls.
The Black Caps captain showed why he is one of the modern-day greats during the back-10 as he strategically took the attack back into the opposition camp. He became the captain to score the highest score in the T20 World Cup final, overtaking Kumar Sangakkara.
He first turned the tide in the 11th over when he dismissed Mitchell Starc (0/60 in 4 overs) for 19 runs in his over, including a catch dropped behind square by Josh Hazlewood.
The way he charged the track and creamed Starc through mid-off was the most enjoyable of the three in that over.
When Starc came on for his third over and the team’s 16th over, his confidence was already shaken and Williamson mocked him with a dash of T20 flair with his Test match batting.
There was a ‘pick-up flick’ for the ages when Starc pulled one into his pad and it soared into the Dubai skyline before landing in the gallery.
If Starc’s second over was too bad, it came bad in his third over, in which the Kiwis got 24 runs, which included four fours and a six.
It was a ‘fifties’ of humiliation that he would like to forget and also forgive Josh Hazlewood for what could possibly be a ‘match-turning’ jungle. Hazlewood (3/16 in 4 overs) however was the bowlers’ choice along with Adam Zampa (1/24 in 4 overs).
The first watch of the night certainly belonged to Williamson, who again repeated the age-old adage – a technically adept Test batsman can play any format with authority as he did during an evening when it was the most It mattered. PTI