Former England captain Michael Atherton was all praise for the New Zealand team after they knocked out favourites, England, in a thrilling semifinal on Wednesday at the Abu Dhabi Stadium.
Chasing a target of 166, Daryl Mitchell (72 off 47 balls) and James Neesham (27 off 11) played crucial roles to take their side over the line with one over to spare. The win also avenged the Black Caps’ heartbreaking loss to Eoin Morgan and co. in the final of the 2019 ODI World Cup.
“They are an outstanding team, in all formats of the game really. They are through to another World Cup final, they were a sliver away from winning the last World Cup in 2019, they are the World Test Championship winners.”
“Across formats, you would have to say they are the strongest team at the moment so congratulations to them, a fantastic achievement with limited resources in terms of personnel and money and things that we’ve often talked about,” Atherton was quoted as saying to Sky Sports.
For a long time in the chase, England were ahead – Michael Atherton
Michael Atherton opined that the English team had the game in their bag for a long part of the Black Caps’ run chase. In the last four overs, the Kiwis needed 57 runs, and they managed to knock it off with one over to spare – a stunning assault in the death overs.
“It just changed so quickly tonight. For a long time in that chase, I thought England were ahead of the game. The pitch looked two-paced and sluggish, no one really got going and suddenly Neesham comes out and changed that game with some fantastic hitting,” Atherton added.
New Zealand is now in the final of the T20 World Cup 2021 and will await the winners of the second semifinal between Pakistan and Australia, which will take place on Thursday.