T20 World Cup 2021: Mike Atherton calls New Zealand the strongest team across formats currently

New Zealand reached the final of the T20 World Cup 2021 | Getty Images

Former England captain and commentator Mike Atherton congratulated New Zealand on reaching their maiden final after they crushed England by 5 wickets in the semi-final of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday (November 10).

Atherton, describing New Zealand’s qualification for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 Final as a “fantastic achievement,” said it wouldn’t be unfair to call the Black Caps the strongest team across all three formats of the game at the moment.

New Zealand has excelled in ICC events in recent years, reaching the final of the ODI World Cup in 2019, losing to England on a boundary count, then winning the inaugural World Test Championship title, and now reaching their maiden T20 World Cup final.

Atherton told Sky Sports: “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, and they are the World Test Championship winners.”

The commentator further added, “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.”

Chasing 167, the Black Caps were in trouble at a point, but Daryl Mitchell (72*) and Jimmy Neesham (27) managed to take the side over the line with 6 balls to spare and 5 wickets in hand against England.

Analyzing the semi-final, Atherton said: “It just changed so quickly tonight. For a long time in that chase, I thought England was 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.”

The commentator also said Pakistan is the favorite to beat Australia in the second semi-final of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021 to join New Zealand in the final in Dubai.

He signed off by saying, “I’m going with Pakistan, I think they have got the best and most varied attack in this competition. You think of that attack: Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, the spinners, the combinations that they have so I reckon they got the best attack and I think they will win it.”