England fans turn Kiwi supporters
Scores of England and Pakistan fans turned up for the Twenty20 World Cup final with allegiances switched for the day to Kane Williamson's New Zealand in Sunday's trans-Tasman contest.
Both Australia and New Zealand were gunning for their maiden T20 World Cup crown in Dubai after defying predictions from pundits of an England-Pakistan title clash.
Eoin Morgan's England went down to the Black Caps in the first semi-final and Australia broke Pakistan hearts through a Matthew Wade blitz to chase down 177.
"I hoped England was going to be here, so I bought the tickets in the flight and then we got knocked out, but I wanted to come anyway," Simon Lawrence, who flew in to watch the final from London, told AFP.
The 45-year-old software professional admits that the Kiwis deserved to win in spite of the "shock and distress" it caused him. He says he is now a New Zealand fan for one day but believes Australia have got "the best team, unfortunately".
Mark Lewis, another England supporter who came in from the United Kingdom with his partner, said England peaked too early in the tournament.
"I thought they (England) might (win) but they played too well too soon to be fair," Lewis told AFP.
"They were going good but lost to South Africa. And we were on the flight when they lost to New Zealand.
"Looking forward to a good game. It's hard to call. I think Australia will beat New Zealand but the Kiwis beat a better team (in the semi-final) so they have come in strong as well."
Plenty of people sporting Pakistan T-shirts trickled in to the venue in the scorching Dubai heat, still carrying the disappointment of Pakistan's loss in the knockout game after an unbeaten streak in the Super 12 stage.
"Very annoying that Matthew Wade's last over - the triple six," 12-year-old Saafyan Choudhary told AFP.
"I am Pakistani-English, so hoped that one of them got through, but neighbours Australia and New Zealand got here," Saafyan said.
Virat Kohli's India suffered an early exit after going down to Pakistan and then New Zealand in their opening two matches to leave their semi-final fate on others.
New Zealand's win over Afghanistan eliminated India from the contest, but a few Indian fans still came in to watch the finals. "It is disappointing that India is not here but that's the reason why I got the ticket so easily yesterday," Manish Garg, who arrived from India on a business assignment, told AFP.