Trans-Tasman Rivals Ready for Battle

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The T20 World Cup comes to its conclusion on Sunday and it looks set to be another classic contest between Antipodean rivals New Zealand and Australia.

New Zealand bowler Ish Sodhi

Australia and New Zealand reached the final of the T20 World Cup thanks to pulsating semi-final victories over Pakistan and England this week and the Trans-Tasman rivals should put on a great show in Dubai on Sunday.

Neither team has been crowned Twenty20 world champions before and Australia are favourites to lift the trophy, although they were beaten 3-2 by the Black Caps in a T20 series in New Zealand in March.

Improving Aussies Cannot Take Underdogs Lightly

Australia came into the World Cup with modest expectations after 4-1 series defeats in the West Indies and Bangladesh this year and they scraped past South Africa in their opening Group 1 game.

A thumping eight-wicket defeat to England, who reached their victory target with 50 balls to spare, put a dent in the Aussies’ chances of reaching the semi-finals, but they finished the group stage strongly and a brilliant sixth-wicket partnership between Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade saw them home against Pakistan on Thursday.

Aaron Finch’s side are 5/9 to beat 13/10 shots New Zealand, who have won their last five matches after losing their opener to Pakistan.

The Kiwis’ resurgence started with an impressive eight-wicket victory over ante-post favourites India in Dubai, venue for Sunday’s final, and they upset a powerful England side in Wednesday’s first semi.

Opener Daryl Mitchell (72 not out) and all-rounder Jimmy Neesham (27 off 11 balls) struck seven sixes between them against England and the Black Caps are 23/20 to hit more maximums than Australia in the final.

Aussie wicketkeeper Wade sealed his side’s semi-final win with three consecutive sixes off Pakistan paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi and he is 18/1 to be named man of the match again on Sunday. 

In-Form Openers Could Play Key Roles With The Bat

New Zealand have been forced into a change to their 11 as Devon Conway broke his hand punching his bat in frustration after his dismissal against England.

The wicketkeeper-batsman will be replaced by Tim Seifert, who has scored five fifties in 33 T20 internationals, but had a lean series against Australia earlier this year, making one, three, four and 19 in his four innings.

Seifert is 11/2 to be New Zealand’s top runscorer in a market headed by 11/4 shots opener Martin Guptill and skipper Kane Williamson.

Guptill made 93 against Scotland in Dubai during the group stage and his highest T20 international score of 105 came against Australia in 2018. The hard-hitting opener has scored 97, 43, seven and 71 in his last four appearances against the Aussies and he could be worth backing at 5/6 to score over 22.5 runs.

Australia opener David Warner is 5/2 to top-score for his side, having done so in their last two games with 89 not out against the Windies and 49 off 30 balls against Pakistan.

Semi-final batting heroes Wade and Stoinis, who also steered Australia to a tense victory over South Africa in their opening game, are 11/1 and 8/1 chances.

England’s Jos Buttler has scored the only century of the tournament so far, but batting seems to have become easier in recent games and it is 9/1 that any player reaches 100 in the final.

Spin King Sodhi Aiming To Torment Australia Again

Ish Sodhi was New Zealand’s bowling hero in the 3-2 series win over Australia earlier this year, picking up 13 wickets in five games, and he is 3/1 to be their top wicket-taker in the final.

Sodhi’s fellow leg-spinner Adam Zampa is 11/4 to be the Aussies’ top bowler and he has recorded the best bowling figures in the tournament: 5-19 against Bangladesh in Dubai.

Left-arm pace aces Trent Boult and Mitchell Starc are the 5/2 and 13/5 favourites to be their sides’ leading bowlers on Sunday. The pair were the top wicket-takers at the 2015 50-over World Cup, where Starc bowled Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum with the third ball of the final, and both have excelled at this tournament.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Rob has around 20 years journalism experience and has written and commentated on the likes of football, cricket and rugby. He also has an impressive background in racquet sports and regularly provides content on the likes of tennis and badminton.

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