Australia vs New Zealand, 1st ODI, Preview - Kiwis' pace attack in focus against the vulnerable hosts

Australia vs New Zealand, 1st ODI, Preview – Kiwis’ pace attack in focus against the vulnerable hosts

Marnus Labuschagne looks to have guaranteed a number four spot for the series due to his century in Potchefstroom against South Africa, albeit in a losing cause.

Trent Boult
Trent Boult of New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

The previous time Australia and New Zealand met, they came on the back of winning a Test series against England and Pakistan. In the end, the Kiwis proved no match for their neighbours, suffering a series sweep. When these two outfits meet at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday, not only will the format change but also the Black Caps have a legitimate shot to settle the scoreline.

Aussie coach Justin Langer partly lamented their jampacked schedule for their horror run in 50-over cricket ever since the World Cup. Yet, there is no running away from the issues concerning the overall composition and inconsistencies that made them lose seven out of their last eight matches. Amid the inconsistent run-scoring of their top-three and the largely unsettled middle-order, it is the lack of powerhouses that have mainly hurt Australia.

Marnus Labuschagne looks to have guaranteed a number four spot for the series due to his century in Potchefstroom against South Africa, albeit in a losing cause. The likes of Mitchell Marsh, D’arcy Short, Ashton Turner, and Alex Carey have all been unsuccessful over the past two months in accelerating during the final 20 overs. And that has significantly hurt Australia for the past two months.

The bad news other than New Zealand bringing their full-strength team is that the return of Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis will have to wait. And one can’t argue that giving the available combinations except for Turner, an extended run is perhaps the only way for them to find out what works and what doesn’t.

The good news could be that the home side may play all three in Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Kane Richardson and achieve desirable results. Due to the slowness of the SCG track, Richardson’s cutters in the death could be more preferred. Although, Josh Hazlewood’s accurate bowling was the only one that put the Proteas under pressure in the series finale. It remains to be seen whether Langer would prefer Ashton Agar or stick with Adam Zampa as the sole specialist spinner.

Other than being the current holders of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, New Zealand seem to have arrived right at the nick of time to avenge their Test series defeat. It is tempting to think of what Kane Williamson‘s men could do with their complete side when they managed to clean sweep India using their second-string team. Even as the trio of Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, and Matt Henry make their comeback, the focus remains still on their new find, Kyle Jamieson.

The towering pacer poses a threat more than that of the trio. His capability with the bat, which has come to the Kiwi’s rescue on more occasions than one, maybe tested at some stage against one of the best death-bowlers Mitchell Starc. More importantly, unlike the hosts, New Zealand have a settled, flexible unit, and are aware of their top seven. But being their arch-nemesis and the result at Lord’s last year, the World Cup finalist can ill-afford to take Australia lightly.

Team combination

Australia

The track in Sydney being a slow and spinning surface because of which Kane Richardson is more likely to find the spot. Adam Zampa could be the only frontline spinner with the likes of D’arcy Short and Marnus Labuschagne being his colleagues if required.

Probable XI: Aaron Finch(c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuchagne, D’arcy Short, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey(wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Kane Richardson/Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa.

New Zealand

With the pace-bowling trio back in the mix, it becomes a stiff task for the Kiwis to choose three pacers. Jamieson, Boult, and Ferguson are likely to start the series while Mitchell Santner is likely to be the only spinner. Unlike the hosts, the tourists have the luxury to have dependable medium-pace bowlers like Colin de Grandomme and James Neesham.

Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham(wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult

Focus will be on

David Warner (Australia)

David Warner has not got a substantial score ever since the classy hundred against India at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. His highest score since then has been 35. He has been caught inside the circle in the powerplay overs while trying to accelerate the score.

The southpaw has underlined Australia’s top-four as the ones, who must pull up their socks and try to make a big score. And being the opener, the onus starts with Warner himself. Thus, the little dynamite, in his first ODI appearance in Australia since the ball-tampering saga, must rediscover his attacking touch quickly to put the esteemed pace attack of the Kiwis under pressure early on.

Kyle Jamieson (New Zealand)

Kyle Jamieson has had an eventful time ever since his debut for the national side. The towering quick bowler played an integral part in New Zealand’s ODI and Test series victory against India in all facets of the game. Jamieson may not find the swing in Australia as much as he did back home; however, the pace and bounce would indeed test the Aussie batsmen. The 25-year old’s talent with the bat could also come under focus at some phase of the leg.

Head to head

Played – 137 | Won by Australia – 91 |Won by New Zealand – 39 | No result – 7

Stat Attack

2009 – New Zealand last beat Australia in an ODI down under was in 2009.

734- David Warner has 734 ODI runs in 14 games at the SCG at an average of 56.46 with a high score of 130.

60 – Tom Latham needs 60 runs to surpass Roger Twose’s tally of 2717 ODI runs for New Zealand.

164 – Steve Smith made his highest ODI score of 164 at the SCG. Incidentally, it came the previous time these two sides met at this ground.

Broadcast details

TV – Sony Networks

Live streaming – Sony LIV

Match Timings – 14:30 pm local, 9:00 am IST