New Zealand may have to call up their half-time bowler as they want to avenge their two crushing losses
There will be more important T20 matches for both sides to play later in the year, but the deciding contest for this series is a great opportunity for them to hone their skills in tournament-style play. Australia has played must-win for the last two games, producing impressive wins, and it feels as if while they are gathering confidence it has ebbed away from New Zealand.
The New Zealand coach, Gary Stead, is pretty blunt after Friday’s defeat in saying he thought his team was taking a step back with the bat. There is limited scope for change with the 13 man squad they have for this series so it looks like the same top-tier will leave again, but there is pressure on Team Seifert in the series which is disappointing to him.
Spin is expected to play another big role and Australia has deeper options with the trio of Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell doing an incredible job yesterday. Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi are impressive too, but maybe Kane Wiliamson should use himself this time.
Immediately after the match, the Australian squad will head to Wellington airport and board their charter flight back to Sydney. Players from states with open borders to New Zealand (excluding Auckland) do not need to be quarantined but those from places where regulations are in place could potentially face isolation depending on whether they return straight away.
This is the last international cricket that the Australian men’s team has confirmed in the schedule for quite a while (with the exception of England who may not be back in the final Test against India) although there may be a mid-year whiteball tour of the Caribbean ahead of the final. preparations for the T20 World Cup. For New Zealand, their home season ends later this month with the ODI and T20I draws against Bangladesh.
(last five games completed)
New Zealand DOUBLED
In the spotlight
The more complex the surface, the more preferred the player Kane Williamson can be important. The captaincy could be just what New Zealand need to overcome their batting struggles in the last two games and Williamson’s skill could follow the pattern set by Aaron Finch in hitting through one half depending on how early he reaches the fold. He could also have an important role to play with the ball – he hasn’t played in the T20I since February 2018 but was close to appearing in the last game and other spin options may be more suitable than Kyle Jamieson’s pace.
While spinners tend to take up the middle, Kane RichardsonCutters also proved hugely influential in the fourth game as he took 3 out of 19. He was a frequent part of the Australian T20I team but prior to his home season was interrupted by opting out of the India series due to biosecure restrictions. bubble to stay with his family he has played 12 games in a row. He is sure he will get a spot for the T20 World Cup even when the other players return.
After confirming that they will not work out another round of options into the squad, there are limits on what New Zealand can do. Jamieson has a tough series and they could, in the end, consider replacing him with Mark Chapman and changing rounds from half-time but it’s a risky choice.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Tim Seifert, 3 Kane Williamson (captain), 4 Devon Conway, 5 Glenn Phillips, 6 Jimmy Neesham, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Kyle Jamieson, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Ish Sodhi, 11 Trent Boult
D’Arcy Short, Ben McDermott, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorff and Tanveer Sangha haven’t seen match time on tour (Ashton Turner is back home for the birth of his son) but a winning combination could be given the chance to seal it a draw. Short’s left wrist can fit into the equation just as much as the punch, while the uncovered legspinner Sangha would be an interesting and daring option.
Australia (probable) 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Matthew Wade (wk), 3 Josh Philippe, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Jhye Richardson, 9 Kane Richardson, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Riley Meredith
Pitch and conditions
Despite expectations that the pitch would change, both sides were surprised by the way he played on Friday. It will not be used further until the current determination of the men’s and women’s matches has been altered so that the conditions are likely to be very similar. One concern is that the morning weather forecast in Wellington is not very good with a chance of rain.
Statistics and trivia
- The eleven over spins made by Australia in the fourth match was the second most in the T20I
- Kyle Jamieson conceded 175 in the series. The record is 187 held by Team Southee although the number of series five matches is limited.
“[Australia] adapts very well, we might be a little slow. But we know how the surfaces will play out and will probably be very similar. Turns and cutters are quite effective. “
“We are under pressure and it’s a great feeling now that we are back in this series.”
Andrew McGlashan is deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
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