Well I’ll put my hand up and say I completely misread the first match of this T20 series as the Kiwi’s were way too good for a struggling Australian side.
We move on however and will be trying to bounce back with some solid picks for the second match of this series. The match will be played in Dunedin as the Aussies look to improve on a dismal display the other day. After being in all sorts of trouble early in their innings, New Zealand were steadied by Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips with the former going on to blast 99* off just 50 odd balls. It was a match-winning partnership as the Black Caps managed to make their way to 184 with the Aussies never looking likely in the run chase.
Aaron Finch unfortunately missed out on the runs once again and questions will start to be raised if the skipper cannot turn his form around. While the lack of runs are obviously an issue, being at the top of the order sets the tone for the team and it looks like the batting lineup is struggling to perform when under immediate pressure early in the innings. I think you can expect the New Zealand bowlers to target this throughout the series and will be interesting to watch as this series plays out.
University Oval, Dunedin - 25th February, 12pm AEDT
New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Hamish Bennett, Finn Allen (standby)
Australia Squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa
Well it’s pretty hard to tip the Aussies again in this one and I think it looks like there is a fair bit of experimenting and tinkering going on with the lineup for this series. New Zealaned were clinical in the opening match and I am thinking they might be too strong again in this one. The most impressive part of the performance was the fact they were in all sorts of trouble early on in the innings and turned it around in a big way. To finish with 184 after being 3-19 was a huge effort and shows the depth that they possess in their batting.
On the contrary, the Australian bowlers were poor, with only Adam Zampa and Jhye Richardson conceding less than 8 runs per over. You would expect there might be some changes made with players such as Riley Meredith waiting in the wings for a game. The Australian team is obviously extremely inexperienced with many of their regular big guns not playing on this tour and they are going to need to turn around their form quickly, such is the nature of T20 cricket.
The Kiwi bowlers also need a mention having been completely all over the Australians from start to finish. Lead by the usual stalwarts in Southee and Boult it was a complete performance by the Black Caps with Ish Sodhi doing the majority of the damage. The leg-spinner took 4 wickets on his way to dismantling the Australian batting lineup and is just another weapon in an already strong bowling attack.
I think Adam Zampa bowled extremely well without much luck in the opening match of this series and was one of the few bowlers who the Kiwi’s struggled to get away. His figures of 0-20 off 3 overs were easily the most economical of any Australian as the opposition batsmen struggled to get him away. With a bit more luck and hopefully some help from his bowling brigade I am expecting Zamps to take a few poles in this match.
Zampa has been one of the best white-ball bowlers in the last year especially and going off the other night, he looks ready for a big performance. With much of the bowling lineup inexperienced and not set in stone, Zampa will shoulder the extra responsibility of leading the way for his teammates. Pretty keen he can bounce here and top the bowling stats for his team.
Well there are a number of top performers out of the last match that we could focus on but I am going to roll with the skipper and Mr. Consistent in Kane Williamson. He has been in great touch recently and showed glimpses of that in his brief innings the other day. With Guptill struggling at the top of the order and many of his teammates relatively inexperienced on the international stage I am expecting Williamson to shine for his team.
A batsman of Kane Williamson’s quality won’t miss out on runs too many times in a row so you would expect him to be eager to bounce back from his failure the other day. Admittedly, Devon Conway was extremely impressive with that match-winning 99* but I just can’t see him replicating something like that again. Williamson looks the safe bet and I am keen to play.
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