Australia will contemplate playing around with their XI to find a way to keep New Zealand in control
The logistics have changed significantly due to the impact of the Auckland lockdown, and there won’t be a crowd to watch the rest of the game, but the challenge remains the same for Australia: they have to win three games in a row in Wellington if they are to enter the draw.
New Zealand, with a team at its best, played dynamic and confident cricket despite a sigh of relief at the end of a pulsating contest in Dunedin where the game was almost snatched away. Marcus Stoinis and Daniel Sams.
Australia has identified that it was the post-powerplay period, the pre-death period with the ball in which they particularly struggled to match New Zealand’s. From 7-16 overs they conceded 11.35 and only took three goals, while the home team had done 9.02 runs per over and claimed 10 goals.
Return to form Martin Guptill in Dunedin marked another box for New Zealand with most players now contributing in the first two games. However, Team Seifert had started with two low scores and a Kyle Jamieson had struggled during 56 years in Dunedin.
Both squads have unusually long breaks between matches. Auckland-based New Zealand players returning home briefly had to leave the city immediately when the lockdown was announced and undergo preventive Covid-19 tests which all came back negative on Monday. New Zealand were the first international team to play behind closed doors during the pandemic, against Australia at SCG last March, but this will be the first time since then.
(last five games completed)
New Zealand WWLWW
In the spotlight
Glenn Maxwell has yet to score in a draw with a score of 1 and 3. In the opening game he brushed off a new swinging ball to slip and in the second set was well caught by a short third person on a reverse sweep. Where he comes is dedicated by how many wickets Australia has lost and the ideal scenario is a base to work on but some sensible remaining. Depending on the balance of Australia’s attack, it could be that the offspring are used up a bit more after taking down a series so far.
Trent Boult has impressed in two contrasting stages of innings in the first two games. In Christchurch he found movement with a new ball and claimed an early goal to close the game, then in Dunedin produced an over that gave New Zealand some breathing room at death when he scored just six in the 18th minute against brutal bats Stoinis and Sams. . He has been the fastest runner on both sides.
Jamieson’s place could come under pressure after two expensive matches although there will be a desire to show confidence in him. Hamish Bennett is another bowling option in the squad. There seems little reason to change the batting.
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
Australia coach Andrew McDonald hinted at a change or two made even though he did before the second game and it became the same XI. There may be a chance that they amplify their attack speed, perhaps with Andrew Tye or Jason Behrendorff, at the expense of the spinners, even though Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa are given a vote of confidence, or step up their punches and count on more overs from everyone.
Australia (presumably) 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Josh Philippe, 3 Matthew Wade (wk), 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Daniel Sams, 8 Ashton Agar / Andrew Tye / Jason Behrendorff / D’Arcy Short, 9 Jhye Richardson, 10 Kane Richardson, 11 Adam Zampa
Pitch and conditions
The Cake Tin, as it is known colloquially, has the lowest running rate (8.03) any T20I place in New Zealand. One of the peculiarities is that the team does not train on the pitch, but instead uses the Basin Reserve, so the visitors don’t have much change to judge the conditions even though with three games in a row there is time for Australia to get used to them. . Weather forecast for a cloudy but dry night.
Statistics and trivia
“One thing we can control is our bowling. We’ll see how we use our bowling in that regard [middle] game phase. Obviously as hitting units we were trying to be aggressive in that period of time. More about how we maintained the New Zealand batter and what matches we used in that time period, I would say where we got the most out of our performance. “
“It’s really different. In the end, think it depends on the individual’s attitude about it and how they respond. Of course we like to play in front of the crowd, but in this Covid era we have to be able to adapt and that’s something we are proud of and hope for. You still see a very good performance from us. “
Gary Stead, New Zealand coach, on his way behind closed doors
Andrew McGlashan is deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
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