1st ODI: Australia vs New Zealand
These two teams are neighbours sure enough, but when it concerns the upcoming ODI series, Australia and New Zealand are coming from two very different places.
The Green Baggies arrive on the back of demoralizing defeat in South Africa; meanwhile the Black Caps have recently trounced India, the best team in the world. The 1st ODI: Australia vs New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground will tell us whether the Aussies have any fight left in them, and with the famous Chappell-Hadlee Trophy up for grabs I’d like to think they will.
New Zealand are third and Australia fifth in the current ODI rankings, and though the pre-series Australia vs New Zealand match favour the hosts, there is no guarantee home advantage will be enough to see the Aussies through.
Aussies heavy schedule
Since the Green Baggies beat New Zealand in the Christmas three match test series, they have been working non stop, and team coach Justin Langer has expressed his concern around the mental fatigue his players may be suffering. Falling to a 3-0 defeat to the Proteas is enough to give anyone a downer, but with white-ball tours of New Zealand and England, and home series against Zimbabwe and West Indies on the calendar over the next six months, the Green Baggies need to pick themselves up.
Marnus is the new man
Batsman Marnus Labuschagne came out of the series in South Africa with some credit, scoring his maiden ODI century in the third match. Aaron Finch and Steve Smith made contributions as the Aussies struggled to 254-7.
Labuschagne has had a fantastic year which has led to the great Sachin Tendulkar comparing the Glamorgan batsman to himself! And he has recently been named Australian Test Player of the Year. He came to prominence when he came on as a concussion substitute in the second Ashes Test last summer after Smith came off worse in a dual with England pace man Jofra Archer. He went on to score 59 to help the Aussies snatch an unlikely draw and he hasn’t looked back. He was named in the ICC’s 2019 Team Test of the Year after scoring 1.104 runs at an average of 64.
And the Black Caps are painfully aware of what Labuschagne can do at this venue. He hit 215 against them in Sydney in January.
With ICC ODI top ten batsmen Finch and David Warner set to open for Australia they have the weaponry to succeed, but do they have the confidence?
Kiwis up for the fight
Aussie legend Michael Clarke has criticised the timing of this series, giving the hosts just four days to recover from their South African mauling. But the Kiwis don’t mind one bit.
Trent Boult is the best ODI bowler in the world according to the ICC Rankings and he says the tourists are right up for this series, and why not? The fast bowler insists the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy is all the incentive the Black Caps need and they are in great form. They came through a tough test against India with a 3-0 ODI win and a 2-0 Test victory after they had been hammered 5-0 by the Men in Blue in the T20s. Boult said: “There’s a good trophy up for grabs and we can’t wait to hopefully lift it. Australia is an awesome place to play cricket.”
Boult will be backed up by Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson with the ball, while skipper Kane Williamson will lead a batting line-up in decent form. Henry Nicholls scored 80 from 103 balls to win the 3rd ODI against India while Ross Taylor smashed a quick-fire century in the first ODI.
India skipper Virat Kohli knew he’d been in a contest with Williamson as the Kiwis gave them their biggest challenge so far in the World Championship.
These neighbours have been playing each other since 1946 and the Green Baggies have had the better of the Australia vs New Zealand results, dominating the Test meetings, winning 34 to six, edging the T20 meetings by nine to seven, and they have the upper hand in ODI head to heads too, winning 91 to New Zealand’s 39.
The Black Caps have held their own recently though, as both teams have won the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy on home soil since 2014-15.
Australia won the last match between these two teams, in the 2019 ICC World Cup clash at Lords.
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