DUBAI: New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell (R) smiles as he arrives for his turn to bat during a nets session at the ICC Academy on Saturday.—AFP
DUBAI: New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell (R) smiles as he arrives for his turn to bat during a nets session at the ICC Academy on Saturday.—AFP

DUBAI: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson believes Sunday’s final against Australia will be a clash of styles at the Dubai International Stadium.

Aaron Finch’s Australia will rely on an assortment of match-winners to deliver their maiden World Cup title in this format.

But New Zealand usually prefer team effort to individual brilliance and have put their faith in an approach that has taken them to the finals in four of the last five global events.

“As a side, they [Australia] have got a lot of match-winners, and I think that’s a large part of the strength in their team throughout,” Williamson said.

“For us, we want to bring our focus to the cricket that we want to play and make sure that’s the most important thing — go out there, enjoy the occasion and take it on in our style.”

The reigning Test champions have lost paceman Lockie Ferguson and wicket-keeper Devon Conway through injury and Williamson said they will be “operating well as a collective”.

Elaborating on their style, the 31-year-old added, “It’s making those adjustments and certainly having the courage to do so and play smart cricket and buy into concepts that, for us as a team, are kind of what we try and wholeheartedly do.”

Williamson said it would be “some achievement” for his team to be world champions in another format but would not like the prospect to be a distraction.

“Where it stands at the moment is there’s a game of cricket to play and, for us, it’s focusing on that and focusing on our cricket and looking to go out there and implement those things that are important to us.

“It’s great to be here, a reflection of a lot of hard work, but tomorrow is a one-off match and, for us, it’s trying to make those small adjustments again and keep the focus really close.”

The trans-Tasman rivals have a rich history of exciting contests and their title clash brings back memories of the 2015 ODI World Cup final in Melbourne when Australia outplayed New Zealand.

“I suppose the fact that we are sort of neighbours creates a bit of that, in a number of different sports as well,” Williamson said of the rivalry.

“So it is always a great competition, great occasion, when we play each other. So both teams I think are really excited at that prospect tomorrow.”

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2021

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