About the Match
Australia won the ODI series against New Zealand by emerging victorious in the second ODI by a massive 116 runs; the two arch rivals will play each other in the 3rd and final ODI of the series at Melbourne on 9th December. Although it’s a dead rubber, New Zealand will try to redeem itself with a consolation win here; on the other hand, Australia which has found a fresh breath of life with this series win will now try to make it a 3-0 whitewash on Friday.
David Warner came out all guns blazing in the second ODI as he posted a remarkable 119 off 115 deliveries to steer the innings to a whopping 378 runs batting first; Smith continued on his good form with the bat as he struck 72 off 76 while Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh contributed well with 57 and 76 runs respectively. The bowlers then leashed a tight whip on the Kiwis batting line-up, taking regular wickets and demolishing them to 262 all-out, and register a big win by 116 runs.
Speedster Pat Cummins claimed a superb 4-41 while Hazlewood, Starc and Faulkner took 2 scalps each to restrict the visitors; in the first ODI too, the pace attack was formidable with Star, Cummins, marsh and Hazlewood providing quick breakthroughs to contain the Kiwis from chasing down 325. Zampa also took 2 wickets in that match, and brings his spin skills to the table.
Overall, the batting line-up looks tough with the in-form Warner and Smith; all-rounders like Marsh, Faulkner and Head can help the team do well with bat and ball while specialists like Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Zampa can strategize well to give them another win here.
It was a must-win contest but the bowlers ended up giving away too many runs fielding first against the Aussies; although Tim Southee and Boult bowled economically and also took 3 wickets between them, players like Henry and Neesham were targeted by the hosts and hit for big runs. Santner and Grandhomme used their variations to contain the Aussie batting line-up but despite taking a wicket each, they couldn’t dent the plans of the opponents.
Chasing a massive target of 379, Williamson tried to lead from the front but his efforts were cut short when he was dismissed at a well-made 81. All-rounder Neesham tried to keep the scoreboard ticking with 74 runs while the hard-hitting opener Guptill could only contribute with 45. Others down the order lacked the experience and they crumbled under pressure, getting all-out for 262.
In the first ODI, Guptill had crafted a brilliant 114 from 102 deliveries; he can try to repeat the good show once again here in the company of players like Williamson, Munro, Latham and others. They have a well-knit pace attack with result oriented bowlers like Matt Henry, Boult, Southee and Neesham while Santner, Grandhomme and Ferguson can be used cleverly to outwit the hosts.
While Australia has already won the series 2-0, they will leave no stone unturned to make this a clean whitewash; the Kiwis on the other hand will be eager to finish the series with a face-saving win here, but we feel that Australia will once again prevail on Friday.