Trans-Tasman Tri-Series 1st T20I, Preview: Australia face-off against familiar foe
Steve Smith will be hoping for a change in fortune at the SCG.
Published - Feb 2, 2018 8:44 pm | Updated - Feb 2, 2018 8:44 pm
4-1 was the final scoreline as Australia was handed a rare home defeat in the ODI series at the hands of arch-rivals England. While the Brits stole the show with some fantastic performances, especially from the likes of Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes, Steve Smith and his band of merry men were left licking their wounds. In fact, David Warner took over the reins of captaincy from Smith for the final two ODIs, something that yielded positive results for the hosts.
The 31-year-old finds himself leading the side once again in the vast expanse of the Sydney Cricket Ground, something he certainly has experience in. Similar to his batting technique, Warner leads by aggression as well, something most are familiar with.
However, this time around, the ‘Pocket Dynamite’ has been handed a relatively inexperienced squad, players who have impressed in domestic cricket, but yet to test their skills on the grand stage of them all. In spite of this, the southpaw would be confident of a good showing with a few uncapped players aiming to make the cut to the Australian side.
As for New Zealand, Kane Williamson’s men are coming off a bit of a low following the 2-1 series loss at home at the hands of Pakistan. However, in spite of this, the Kiwis skipper will be raring to prove his doubters wrong as they face-off against a familiar foe. Williamson will be aware of the rivalry surrounding this fixture, something that has now become an integral part of cricketing heritage and folklore. From the outset, both sides are hurting from recent losses, but, that would perhaps make them hungrier to secure a win in the SCG in the first encounter of the series.
What they said
David Warner’s presser has become a narrative of sorts. Maybe, it depicts his character as an aggressor, something that translates into the way he bats and the way he leads his side. Ahead of the encounter, Warner stated that he would back his side 100 percent. He also dropped a hint of starlet D’Arcy Short making his much-anticipated debut in the encounter.
“What comes with that is playing with freedom and clarity and knowing your game so well. You don’t need to change anything when you come to this level because you got here because of the way you play. That’s the message I got across to the guys. If you see the ball there hit it … Just go for it. We’re all about executing your skills and doing what you do best. That’s how you got here.”D’Arcy and Lynny lead by example in their own teams respectively.”
Tim Southee, one of the senior bowlers in the New Zealand side was wary of David Warner and what the stand-in Aussie skipper has up his sleeve. Speaking to the media in Sydney, Southee threw caution to the wind by reiterating that the Kiwis would most certainly be on top of their game.
“He’s a class player, he’s shown that over a long period of time and good players don’t stay down for too long,” Southee said. “We know that we’re going to have to be on top of our game to stay on top of him. We played some good cricket throughout the summer, the last couple of games haven’t been our best, but the beauty of the side is we don’t ride the emotions that can come with winning and losing.”
With Aaron Finch carrying a niggle, D’Arcy Short is expected to make his debut. Following a bidding war in the recently-concluded IPL auction for the southpaw, he is expected to partner Warner to open the innings for Australia. Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, and Travis Head have all been restored to the side. Alex Carey, the keeper-batsman who impressed in the BBL will be raring to make his debut. Marcus Stoinis will play in an all-rounder capacity while there is little clarity on the composure of the bowling unit.
Probable XI: D’Arcy Short, David Warner (C), Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Alex Carey (WK), Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson/Ben Dwarshuis, Billy Stanlake
Unlike the Australian selection dilemma, the Kiwis are more or less settled in their selection. Tom Blundell will take over from Glenn Phillips as the wicketkeeper for the encounter. Ish Sodhi will partner Mitch Santner while Tim Southee is once again expected to lead the attack.
There will be a tussle between Ben Wheeler and Seth Rance as to who will play the role of the third seamer for the Kiwis. Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson will be expected to add the much-needed backbone to the middle order along with Colin de Grandhomme.
Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Blundell (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Ben Wheeler/Seth Rance
Head to Head Record
Focus will be on-
The explosive left-handed batsman is expected to make his debut for Australia ahead of Aaron Finch in the first match of the series. Having impressed for the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League, Short will be hoping to translate his form into something that would perhaps make things easier in the grand scheme of things for David Warner. There is no doubt that there will be nerves for the youngster in his first outing, but will be an exciting experience nonetheless.
Colin de Grandhomme
The hard-hitting New Zealand all-rounder will be expected to add the firepower in the lower-middle-order during the batting innings. However, being able to clock upwards of 140 kmph, Grandhomme will also be a linchpin of the bowling unit to compliment the efforts of Southee and Boult. The SCG has enough in it for batsmen and bowlers, something that will ensure that the Kiwi all-rounder will be an important part of the ordeal.
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