One Day International match two: New Zealand vs. Australia, Saturday, February 6, noon AEDT, Watch on Fox Sports
AUSTRALIA’S one day cricketers have been just about unbeatable in the 50 over game over the past year.
They find it hard to lose series’, taking out the World Cup Final against New Zealand in March and then more recently crushing the Indians 4-1 in the five match shindig.
But that might be a thing of the past after their meek effort in the first one day international against the New Zealanders in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy yesterday.
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The Kiwis blasted the Aussies all over Eden Park, rattling up 8/307, before skittling the men from Down Under for just 148.
It was the Martin Guptill show for the New Zealanders, the unheralded opener cracking 90 off 76 balls on the postage stamp oval, belting eight fours and five sixes.
You might not know it, but he hit more runs in one day internationals than any other batsman in 2015.
He hit an incredible 1489 runs with four centuries and eight half centuries in the calendar year, including a remarkable 237 not out in the World Cup against the West Indies.
That means that he is ultra consistent and also in the form of his life.
But, let’s not forget, before yesterday, he was the Aussies’ bunny – he only averaged a tick over 21 against the Australians and his highest score – 64 – came in Brisbane – seven years ago – and his innings in the World Cup Final was one to forget – a woeful 15 off 45 balls in a go slow effort that put pressure on his spot in the side.
How times change.
Captain Brendon McCullum had a typically robust 44 off 29 balls at the top of the order, partnering with Guptill for a 79 run opening stand.
Henry Nicholls was the second top scorer with 61, playing the anchor role as the lower order hit out.
There wasn’t much to speak of for the Aussie bowlers, with Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Marsh and James Faulkner all taking two wickets, but going for plenty.
The same couldn’t be said for the New Zealand bowlers. Their accuracy and movement was first rate, with Trent Boult and Matt Henry doing most of the damage with three wickets each. All rounder Mitchell Santner bowled two ball for two wickets and will be on a hat trick in match two.
The Aussies, at one point, were 6/41, before Matt Wade (37 off 38) and James Faulkner (36 off 33) came together to at least get the Aussies past 100. But when they fell, it was all over.
Strike it up as a bad night for the Aussies ($1.90 with WilliamHill.com.au) to win the second one dayer) if you dare, but New Zealand ($1.90) now looks very ominous.
The Aussies picked what was touted as a full strength side, although that is arguable, with no Usman Khawaja to be seen, after he was brought in to replace the injured Aaron Finch in the 14 man squad.
Khawaja is just about the hottest batsman in the world, but he couldn’t get a gig for game one because captain Steve Smith says: “The one day side is a tough side to break into.”
”We’re the current world champions, we’re playing some very good one day cricket.
“The batters have been scoring lots of runs, we’ve scored 300 on every occasion in the recent one day series at home.”
Perhaps that is out the window now, with the Aussies’ capitulation.
Khawaja must play.
The Aussies were also dealt a double blow with Faulkner rubbed out for the remainder of the series after suffering a hamstring injury in the match.
Melbourne Stars Big Bash League surprise packet Marcus Stoinis will replace the all rounder in the squad.
Will Warner bounce back?
Australia top run scorer: David Warner ($4 with Sportsbet.com.au)
A big part of Australia’s one day dominance over the past year has been the sublime form of David Warner.
The opener only played three one dayers in the Indian series – all of them wins – but he blasted 220 runs in those three digs, with a highest score of 122.
He also struck a half century in those games and his runs came at the princely average of 73.33, good enough for second out of all Aussie bats. His strike rate of better than a run a ball was also a large driver of the Australians’ massive totals.
It’s clear that he knows the New Zealanders are a different beast to tame. They are swing masters on their home decks, but you just know Warner is going to be up for the challenge.
And, after his failure in match one (12 off 11 balls), he will be hoping to bounce back.
The runs still came quick enough, with a pair of boundaries to boot, but it simply wasn’t enough when you’re chasing so many runs.
Warner’s record against the Kiwis before this series was not something to write home about.
He has struggled against their seam attack at the top of the order in the four matches he has played.
They have yielded just 88 runs at 22, with a highest score of just 45.
You can bet he will know all about it and he will want to change that.
And we think he can.
He’ll have to deal with the Kiwi swing maestro Boult who trapped him leg before wicket with an absolute gem in match one.
What about Williamson
New Zealand top run scorer: Kane Williamson ($3.75 with WilliamHill.com.au)
Nabbing the superstar Williamson for a duck was about the only thing the Australians got right in match one.
When Williamson was caught by Marsh off the bowling of Hazlewood, the Aussies were back in the game after the openers’ early fire works. He faced eight balls and did not score a run.
Very un-Williamson like.
In case you haven’t read or heard about it, this kid is the real deal.
The Man known as ‘The King’ across the ditch is a special player. He absolutely dominated the Australians during the Trans Tasman Test series Down Under.
The Aussies won’t soon forget being put to the sword by Williamson, who amassed 428 runs in that series and he is coming off a knock of 84 against the Pakistanis in his last outing before this series.
When New Zealand legends Martin Crowe and Richard Hadlee declare that you will be the best batsman New Zealand has every produced – at just 25 – you know you have some serious talent – and some serious expectation.
But the Aussies have found it nearly impossible to dismiss Williamson and we expect that to continue on home soil after his hiccup in the first game.
The 25 year old rarely fails in consecutive innings and with a duck under his belt, he will be keen to fill his back in this one.
If he does get going, you won’t want to miss it – he is among the most beautiful bats to watch in the world.
Back him in and watch him crack a century and dominate the inexperienced Aussie attack.