Maxwell-vs-spinners the key battle in the T20 World Cup final – Scott Styris

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Australia and New Zealand, neither of which have won the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, will meet in the final in Dubai on Sunday. New Zealand beat England favorites in the semi-finals on Wednesday, while Australia knocked out previously undefeated Pakistan the next day.

After losing their last two ODI World Cup finals (2015, 2019), New Zealand now has a chance to win their first limited-participation ICC tournament.

Scott Styris, former Black Caps handyman, evaluates the form of David Warner, the impact of Devon Conway’s absence and the fights in which the final could be won or lost.

Extracts

Q. Let’s start with Warner. He was struggling to get the ball rolling in IPL and is now the fourth World Cup top scorer. What has changed?

R. Warner has been the best hitter on the IPL for the past five years. The form is temporary, the class is permanent as they say and he is class. Maybe it was trust or he just didn’t have enough time in between. But it is back and the n. 1 hitter that New Zealand must get rid of if they are to win.

In Conway’s absence, New Zealand have only one other true wicketkeeping option in their squad: Tim Seifert, who has only played one game in this competition. How important will Conway’s injury be and the likely change in XI in the final?

Conway is a huge loss. Australia is the favorite and rightfully so without Conway there. He is an intelligent, high-quality cricketer. He doesn’t normally beat four but they like it in the middle order with all his skills against spin in particular. So now how does New Zealand fare against Adam Zampa who was brilliant? Glenn Phillips needs an important game. Phillips is also a keeper, so there are no wicketkeeper issues.

Scott Stiris … “[David] Warner is the No. 1 hitter that New Zealand must get rid of if they are to win. “- K. MURALI KUMAR (FILE)

Left arm fingerspinner Mitchell Santner only threw one in the semi-finals against England as the team had many lefties. Do you subscribe to this pairing logic of not throwing spinners with the left arm against left-handers?

No I do not. I saw R. Ashwin’s tweet.

And I agree. I played a lot of cricket with Dan Vettori and he was never going to be a bowler just in match-ups. I think it’s gone a little too far when you see captains just wanting to spin the ball away from the bat.

For four men’s T20 World Championships in a row, Tim Southee has had little success. But he seems to have turned the page in this World Cup. Do you see a marked difference in his method?

Not particularly, no. He enjoyed the conditions. It hit its lengths very well. You know the opportunity won’t scare him and New Zealand will need that experience and skill under pressure if they are to win.

And how good was Jimmy Neesham?

It was great. Talent has never been questioned. New Zealand needs Neesham to finish the games. He still has a lot to gain in that department, but he’s taking all the right steps. It’s the toughest role in T20 cricket these days. Finish the games and keep your nerve. Jimmy has made great strides with this.

Finally, if there is a match that you would choose that could decide the final, which one would it be and why?

Santner / Ish Sodhi vs Glenn Maxwell. Maxwell can get busy. If you can get rid of Maxwell, you take away a lot of the Australian half on the scoring blitz. Getting the fields right is one key, the other is hoping Maxwell takes silly options, which he has done many times in the IPL. But his game-winning abilities were never in doubt.

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