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Australia got off to the perfect start against New Zealand in the 3-match T20 series as they chased down a stiff target with ease. There was enough on display from both teams to suggest that this will be a closely fought contest that may go down to the wire. New Zealand and Australia are easily among the game’s leading sides and the existence of a friendly but serious rivalry only adds to the entertainment.
New Zealand was in a few winning positions that it could not capitalize on and is now in a must-win situation. Can the New Zealand women fight back or will Australia finally avenge its recent poor record against its neighbors?
The build-up to this match had made it clear that Australia did not like this shift in traditional dominance towards the New Zealanders that has happened in recent times. The Aussie women are used to being the top-dogs in their game and dominating it against everyone. New Zealand has challenged that position and overtaken Australia in a lot of respects.
Australia is still a formidable force, though, especially at home and it showed in the first contest.
Ellyse Perry did not get a chance to bat but bowled very well and got the important wicket of Suzie Bates. Her match figures of 26 for 1 with one maiden were easily the best on both sides. Australia actually managed to keep the New Zealand batters in check for most of the inning thanks to good performances from Molineux, Schutt, and Gardner.
The Aussies know that the New Zealand batting lineup is capable of making some really big scores, particularly if they don’t lose early wickets. This is why we expect them to go hard at the New Zealand top-order for the remainder of the series as well.
The death bowling for Australia was not the best in this match as they allowed Martin and Bezuidenhout to add valuable runs in the last few overs. A strong batting lineup like New Zealand is going to test the Aussies on every occasion so any lapses could be costly.
The Aussie chase was not the most comfortable as they lost four early wickets and could have been said to be just one more away from certain defeat. Healy, Mooney, Gardner, and Villani all fell early. It was eventually down to Meg Lanning, Rachael Haynes, and Ellyse Perry to bail Australia out.
As things turned out, Lanning and Hynes completed the job on their own and with ease.
The Aussie middle order is very strong thanks to Lanning, Haynes, and Perry but they cannot bail out the side every time. Australia will know it did not put in a great performance in this match and will need to do better to win next time around.
Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning, Elyse Villani, Rachael Haynes, Ellyse Perry, Sophie Molineux, Delissa Kimmince, Georgia Wareham, Megan Schutt.
A disappointing loss for New Zealand is sure to elicit an improved performance from what we believe is the most dangerous side in women’s cricket today. Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine hold numerous records to their names and we are backing them to come good against Australia in this game as well.
Both the batters need to take a bit more time before going hard at the bowling because they have the necessary power to make up for any dot balls they might face.
The loss in the first match also showcased a strong middle order for New Zealand that could come in handy in the future too. A start for Watkin, and runs for Martin and Bezuidenhout will help give the top-order the confidence to play with freedom knowing they have backup even if they fail.
It is important to see that New Zealand’s best batters did not have a good day and yet they were able to post a challenging total for Australia. In fact, if it were not for the brilliance of Lanning and Haynes, New Zealand could have well been plotting its series victory.
The bowling for New Zealand started out well but did not finish the way they would have liked. Kasperek and Devine made the initial breakthroughs but the pressure could not be sustained.
There were too many loose deliveries and the boundaries just kept flowing in the end. Amanda Kerr, often the X-factor of the New Zealand bowling would be disappointed with a return of 25 runs from two overs for no wicket.
Jensen was also expensive going for 28 in her 2.4 overs.
New Zealand needs to work on adjusting to the correct length on Aussie surfaces and we think they are going to put in a better display second time around.
Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine, Jess Watkin, Amy Satterthwaite, Katey Martin, Maddy Green, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Hayley Jensen, Amelia Kerr, Leigh Kasperek, Lea Tahuhu.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first
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A 10% chance of rain has been forecast for the match, although, there has been some rain around in the area. The pitch in the Allen Border Field should be good for batting with a nice amount of bounce for the players. The wrist spinners may enjoy bowling on the surface which does help the spinners traditionally. A score of about 160 should be considered par.
We think that New Zealand is going to strike back at the Aussies after their loss in the opening game and set up a decider. They have the batting to get the necessary runs and the bowling to keep Australia’s batters from running riot.
Back New Zealand to win.