International Cricket Council
Aaron Finch pre-match conference

"I'm not surprised one bit": Finch says Australia-New Zealand final not unexpected

The stakes have never been higher for Australia and New Zealand as the two teams vie to get their hands on the ICC Men's T20 World Cup trophy for the first time.

While the obvious motivation is to get their hands on the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, it is also a matter of bragging rights for the two Trans-Tasman rivals.

However, ahead of the tournament, both the teams were considered dark horses for the trophy but not outright favourites. 

While New Zealand came into the tournament on good form, winning four of their last five bilateral T20I series, Australia had to endure an incredibly tough run.

Though they were without several of their key players, Australia have not won a bilateral series since February 2020. Their 4-1 series loss West Indies and Bangladesh in the months leading up to the World Cup raised several questions of the side's ability.

Video cwc19 13 Nov 21
Final: New Zealand v Australia | The key match-ups | T20 World Cup

Aaron Finch, however, believes that it is not surprising that Australia have made it to the finals. The Aussie skipper also praised the Black Caps for their consistency in the recent ICC events.

"No, it's not unexpected," said Finch. "Like I said we came here with a clear plan to try to win this tournament. We always felt as though we've got the depth of the squad and the quality in our squad to put ourselves in a position to do that.

"And New Zealand, they have been in every final for a long time now in ICC events. They are a great team over all three formats of the game. They are a team that can never be underestimated. But maybe people on the outside do. Certainly inside, we don't. They have got firepower, they have got experience, they have got class.

"No, I'm not surprised one bit."

"Like you said, everyone had written us off but we had a lot of confidence within. We're really confident the way that we were preparing, the way that our strategy was coming together."

"Yeah, I think it hasn't defied expectation. I think we came here with a really clear plan to win the tournament, and we still feel as though we've got the squad to do that."

It hasn't been all smooth sailing for Australia on their road to the finals. They had to scrap to a win in the Super 12 opener against South Africa before England battered them in their second game.

On the back of Chris Jordan's Player of the Match-winning spell of 3/17, Australia were restricted to a paltry score of 125. And Jos Buttler's blistering 32-ball 71 helped England chase the total down in just 11.4 overs. As a result, Australia had to make a massive comeback in their next game against Bangladesh to nullify the effect on the net run rate. 

Aaron Finch's men managed to do just that as they skittled the Tigers out for 73 and chased the total down in under seven overs.

Video cwc19 04 Nov 21
Match Highlights: Australia v Bangladesh

Finch spoke in detail about how the team dealt with the huge loss and how they managed to bounce back so quickly.

"Yeah, really disappointed (about the loss to England) obviously. We didn't put in our best performance. But to have a couple of days off and to have the guys regroup on what had been I suppose a really grueling first couple of weeks of the tournament where we turned up, had some quarantine and then trained really hard in the lead-in to the tournament.

"So to have the ability to mentally and physically freshen up for a couple of days was important, but what we did talk about touring that time was staying really committed to being aggressive.

"We felt as though in that game we were probably just a little bit timid and got outplayed in the Powerplay by Woakes in particular, who got England off to a good start. It was just about staying really aggressive.

"We understand in this format of the game that when you're up against a great opposition that they don't always allow you big opportunities to get into the game, and whether it's bat or ball, you have to really find a small edge at some point and try and drive that advantage home.

"I think every team plays it very similar, so we just reiterated that's how we wanted to go about it and play that way."

Australia are now within touching distance of winning the T20 World Cup and righting the wrongs of 2010, where they finished runners-up to England.

Ahead of the all-important final, Finch chose to keep his cards close to his chest when quizzed about the possible team combination.

"We'll keep that under wraps until tomorrow," he said.