It was another story of so close and yet so far for New Zealand. The Black Caps reached the final of their third successive ICC trophy and were hoping to win their first World Cup- 50 overs or T20- when they set out to the Dubai International Stadium for the T20 World Cup final against Australia.
However, as it turned out, it was not to be for Kane Williamson & Co. They did manage to post a competitive total of 172/4 in their quota of 20 overs but it was chased down by Australia with 7 balls to spare as they ended their T20 World Cup drought.
Here we look at 5 things that went wrong for New Zealand in the final:
1. The tale of toss
The toss has been a massive factor in this tournament and it was almost a given that the team winning the toss would opt to bowl first. That's exactly what happened on Sunday. Australia won the toss and opted to bowl first. Ish Sodhi was even seen rubbing his hand on the pitch so that he could get a good grip on the ball as dew might have had a role to play when New Zealand second.
11 out of 12 matches before the final at Dubai in the World Cup had been won by the team batting second. Australia won their 6 matches in the competition batting second and the only game where they had batted first, they were outplayed by England. Fortune not favouring the Kiwis at the toss turned out to be a massive moment even before a ball was bowled.
2. Martin Guptill's 35-ball innings at a strike rate of 80
While one may think that New Zealand might have had enough with 172 runs on the board, a closer look at their inning suggest that they could have easily scored more. Their usually fluent opener Martin Guptill registered his lowest strike rate for an innings of over 30 balls and it wasn't the best occasion for that kind of a show. He made 28 runs from 35 balls and perhaps did more harm than good to their batting lineup. If it wasn't for Kane Williamson's masterclass, the Kiwis would have managed even a lesser total.
3. A period of 33 balls for no boundary in New Zealand innings
Once they knew they were batting first, New Zealand needed to do something special with the bat. But that did not happen especially because they could not get going in the first half of their batting innings. In fact, there was a period of 33 balls inside the first 10 overs after the Kiwi opener Daryl Mitchell departed and Williamson took his time before he unleashed his strokes that they could not find a single boundary.
4. Poor outings for Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi
When they came out to defend 172, the Black Caps were looking to take wickets throughout the course of the innings to never let the opposition come out on top. Although Trent Boult looked in prime form and was the pick of the bowlers with 2 wickets for 18 runs, no one else managed to pick up a wicket. Tim Southee and Ish Sodhi had a poor day with Sodhi perhaps struggling to grip the ball- their economies at the end of the match read- 11.21 and 13.33 respectively and they had been the same bowlers who had been instrumental in taking New Zealand to the titular clash.
5. How other Kiwis batted around Williamson vs how other Aussies batted around Marsh
The biggest difference in the match was what happened around the individual top-scorers from both teams. Williamson scored 85 from 48 balls while the rest of the Kiwi batters managed 78 off 73 between themselves. Similarly, Player of the Match in the final Mitchell Marsh scored 77 off 50 but also found superb support from the rest of the batting unit as they scored 86 off 63, finishing the match with more than an over to spare.