Not many gave New Zealand a chance to qualify for the semifinal before the beginning of the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Not only did New Zealand cross the super 12 stage with flying colours but went on to win the semi-final against England — one of the favourites for the trophy.
However, their juggernaut was interrupted by Australia in the big final as New Zealand suffered another heartbreak in the final of an ICC event, following their boundary countback loss to England in the 2019 ODI World Cup.
The margin of New Zealand’s defeat to Pakistan in their first match of the competition was a slight surprise but their loss to the red-hot Pakistan team was anticipated.
It was India’s misfortune that the team faced a determined New Zealand in the next match as they did not allow India to get going at any point of time. The team then registered comfortable victories against Scotland Namibia and in their last match against Afghanistan to qualify through to the semi-finals.
In the semis, Daryl Mitchell and Jimmy Neesham proved to be the heroes as they made it to the final.
However, a revamped Australia proved too good for them on the big night as they lost the final by 8 wickets.
Williamson, the lone warrior
This is what New Zealand captain Kane Williamson had to say after the defeat at the Dubai international cricket stadium in November 2021.
“We were trying to get a platform and the surface was holding a fraction. But typical here in Dubai. It was nice to build some partnerships and get what we thought was a competitive total. Only to be chased superbly by Australia. They’re a fantastic side. We certainly made every effort. Guys came out and committed to their plans. They didn’t give an inch really.”
“Really proud of our team’s efforts throughout. Came here in the final and gave it our best shot but it wasn’t enough. Conditions varied a lot from venue to venue but we adjusted well. Nice to get to the big dance. Credit to Australia. Today they really turned it on. High hopes coming into this game. Never nice. Winning and losing are two possible outcomes.”
On the batting front, only Kane Williamson could deliver, making a stylish 85 off 48 deliveries with 10 fours and 3 sixes.
Williamson did not get enough support from his fellow batters and the dream came to nought once again for New Zealand.