Just hours before the T20 World Cup between Australia and New Zealand there were reports of earthquakes in Dubai.
A new T20 world champion will be crowned tonight, with Australia and New Zealand competing for their inaugural title on Monday morning AEDT.
After two exciting semi-finals – both of which were won by five wickets with six balls to spare – the tournament will close with a cross-Tasmanian battle in Dubai.
It will mark New Zealand’s fourth ICC final appearance in the last six years.
Australia meet New Zealand in the ICC T20 World Cup Final on Monday (1am AEDT) on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial today.
But less than two hours before the scheduled first ball, there were reports of earthquakes hitting Dubai.
“I felt the ground shake and the lights move,” said a resident of Dubai The National.
It was later confirmed that the United Arab Emirates was experiencing aftershocks of a powerful magnitude 6.1 earthquake in southern Iran, with tremors also felt in Saudi Arabia.
However, reporters at Dubai International Cricket Stadium claim they did not feel any aftershocks.
The Black Caps suffered an early blow leading into the final, with starting hitter Devon Conway breaking his hand after punching his bat during the semi-final against England.
Meanwhile, Australia is expected to take an unchanged XI in the final.
The first ball is scheduled for the 1st AEDT.
Aussies wins decisive throw
If recent results are anything to go by, Australia will feel confident enough after winning the toss and picking to field first.
Eleven of the 12 matches played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in this tournament were won by the team chase.
“It looks a little drier than the one we played last time,” said Australian captain Aaron Finch.
“It could jump over with the new ball and hopefully it will stay that way.”
Finch has now won 14 of 17 throws at T20 internationals this year.
Australia named an unchanged XI for the inevitable clash.
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
New Zealand XI: Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson (c), Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Tim Seifert (sm), Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Adam Milne, Trent Boult
The “matchmaker” who has yet to shoot
Glenn Maxwell was portrayed as the man who would lead Australia to the glory of the T20 World Cup leading into the tournament, but the “Big Show” was more of a “No Show”.
In six hits, the Victoria won 36 runs at an average of 9.00; but what is even more concerned is Maxwell’s sad strike rate of 78.26.
He also still has to release the boundary rope during the tournament.
Speaking to Fox Cricket, Australian great Shane Warne was adamant that Maxwell could still be a “matchmaker” in the final if he let himself calm down at the crease.
“I know he doesn’t have the runs he’d like and he’s had a few chances in this tournament so far, but I think he’s the kind of guy who never goes out of shape, the next inning could be that.” said Warne.
“For me, you just have to have him by your side because he can do so much and he can mess with the bowlers.
“I think when Maxwell is at his best, he gives himself a chance and he’s a little more picky, he doesn’t try to impose himself too quickly. He gets into it, he plays nice and straight and knocks it down and then when he starts to get some limits off, that’s when he starts to get funky and try his different shots.
“Sometimes he probably outdoes himself because he has so many shots. There aren’t too many batters in the world who have Glenn Maxwell’s shots. Give yourself a chance, Maxy, that would be my advice, and then get rid of them. ”
Originally released as T20 World Cup final live updates: Dubai shaken by earthquakes, Australians win decisive throw