CT 2017, Match 2, AUS v NZ Preview: Old foes renew rivalry in their tournament opener

CT 2017, Match 2, AUS v NZ Preview: Old foes renew rivalry in their tournament opener

New Zealand and Australia have played some memorable games none more than the group game between both teams in the last world cup.

Kane Williamson of New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand go head-to-head (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

It has been even stevens between these two sides since 2015. They have played 10 games in the last two years and have won 5 apiece. Both countries have been a part of some intriguing battles in the past none more than their World Cup group game in 2015 where the Kiwis held their nerve to win the game by a solitary wicket in a maverick clash. Incidentally, this was the only defeat the Australians faced in their successful World Cup campaign in 2015.

Both teams were again up against each other in the finals of the World Cup but Australia were good enough to win on the big night. New Zealand will go into this game with a wee bit more confidence as they defeated the Aussies in a home ODI series by 2-0. New Zealand’s preparation for the big event has been up to the mark. They played in a tri-series in Ireland, which they won with a second string team led by Tom Latham. After getting a drubbing against India in their first warm-up game, the Kiwis came back to win their second warm-up game, where they mowed down 357 with 23 balls to spare.

Australia won the home ODI series against New Zealand 3-0 and followed it up by winning against Pakistan 4-1 at home. They hit a brick wall when they were defeated by New Zealand away, which was the last ODI assignment of Australia. They had a good outing against Sri Lanka in their first warm-up game where they chase down 319 in the last over. Unfortunately for them, their second warm-up clash was washed out just 10.2 overs into the game. All in all, they are a great side who has players who raise their game when the stakes are high.

Toss: New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat

Captains speak

Kane Williamson: We are going to have a bat. Looks a great surface. We have had a bit of break. Guys are looking forward to this one. The short boundary makes it pretty interesting. It is always tough to beat the Australian side, whatever side they put

Steve Smith: Stoinis, Zampa, Lynn and Pattinson miss out. We would have bowled first anyway. There is a bit of overcast so try and make the most of the weather conditions. There have been some good preparations. It is a big tournament, we need to start well against a good New Zealand side today.

Playing XI:

Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steven Smith(c), Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Matthew Wade(w), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Luke Ronchi(w), Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Neil Broom, James Neesham, Corey Anderson, Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Trent Boult

 

Focus will be on:

David Warner

Warner has been in outstanding form in ODI cricket since 2015. In 42 innings, the explosive batsman has racked up 2407 at 61.72 runs an innings. His strike rate in this period has been 107.88. It is fair to say that Warner is one of the batsmen to look out for in this mega event. He has registered three scores in excess of 170 in this period. The opener utilised his good form to score the most runs in the recently concluded IPL 2017. He will be looking to counter the early threat of Boult and Southee by attacking them from the outset.

Trent Boult

Trent Boult relishes facing Australia in ODI cricket. In 9 games against the arch-rivals, the left-arm quick has 24 wickets to his name at an average of 18.41. The 27-year old has 2 5-wicket hauls in ODIs and both have come against the Aussies the most recent one being the 6/33 he picked up at Hamilton in February this year. Boult will share the new ball with Southee and will be a handful against Warner as he slants the ball across the left-hander. It will be interesting to see how Kane Williamson will use his premier fast bowler. McCullum used him a lot when the ball was new and on occasions, bowled Boult out in the first 20 overs of an innings.

Team Combinations:

Australia:

The right-hand left-hand combination of Finch and Warner can demolish any bowling attack in the world. In the middle order skipper, Steve Smith has a big job of taking charge in the middle overs as his team lacks in experience there. Henriques, Maxwell, Stoinis, Travis Head and Chris Lynn are all decent players but have played just 108 games collectively. The bowling will be Australia’s strength as Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Pattison can all use the conditions to their advantage. Adam Zampa and Maxwell will be the two spinners in the Australian side for this 18-day tournament.

New Zealand:

In Guptill and Latham, New Zealand has two openers who complement each other. Latham takes his time while Guptill is aggressive in his approach right from the start. The fact that they are a left hand-right hand combination, adds to the woes of the Australian new ball bowlers. Williamson and Taylor are two experienced players who know how to go about an innings in the middle overs. The lower middle order consists of attacking batsmen – Ronchi and Corey Anderson – who, on their day can tarnish any attack. In Santner they have a great left-arm spinner who can bat as high as No. 7 in international limited overs cricket. Fast bowlers Southee, Boult and Milne will work as a unit to deliver the goods for their team.

 

Stat Attack

54- runs required by David Warner to complete 4,000 ODI runs. He will be the 16th player from Australia to do that.

43- runs required by Glenn Maxwell to complete 2,000 ODI runs.

4- wickets required by Tim Southee to go past the great Richard Hadlee’s ODI tally of 158 wickets.

19.88- The bowling average of Mitchell Starc which is the best by an Australian who has got a minimum of 50 ODI wickets.