New Zealand v Australia
Friday 5 March 06.00
Live on BT Sport
New Zealand have a 2-1 lead with two to play. But momentum is not with them after a poor showing in game three when, frankly, they were hammered.
The Kiwis conceded a whopping 208 and despite a strong start from Martin Guptill and Devon Conway, rattling on at almost ten an over, the middle- and lower-order couldn’t continue.
They are boosted by the return of Mitchell Santner, who is set to replace Mark Chapman. Check out the Kiwis fantastic top-order where they have an embarrassment of riches in terms of destructive hitters.
Possible XI Guptill, Seifert, Williamson, Conway, Phillips, Neesham, Santner, Jamieson, Southee, Sodhi, Boult,
Finch finds form
Australia have shown improvement on this tour. They were well-beaten in game one, went very close in game two and finally put all disciplines together to keep their hopes alive with two to play.
And there were some significant performances. Aaron Finch, who seems to have been out of form for months, finally managed a score. It was the first time he had passed fifty in 27 attempts. Ashton Agar took a breathtaking six-wicket haul while Glenn Maxwell pinched top-bat honours by one from Finch with a bombastic 70. That came off just 31 balls.
It is a familiar line-up to Big Bash followers. Josh Philippe should be opening instead of Matthew Wade, Perth Scorcher Jhye Richardson leads the bowling attack and Riley Meredith of the Hurricanes is making his way.
Possible XI Wade, Finch, Philippe, Maxwell, Stoinis, Marsh, Agar, J Richardson, K Richardson, Meredith, Zampa,
Five of the last seven at the Westpac in Wellington have been won by the side batting first. So it’s about scoreboard pressure as the surface – as proved by Australia’s 208 – looks flat. More than 160 has been breached in each of the last five matches (all internationals). The best advice for innings runs is to take big numbers about big numbers. More than 190, 200 and 210 can offer good returns for small stakes. Sportsbook go even money that both teams score 170 or more.
New Zealand are 2.0621/20 and Australia 1.865/6. We’re surprised these odds are not the other way round. The Kiwis are a better balanced, more complete team than the Aussies.
The hosts have round pegs in round holes. Australia? Not so much. In Wade, Philippe and Stoinis they have picked three openers. Is there no room for Ashton Turner, a specialist finisher? And although Jhye Richardson looked good at No 8 in the Bash, he looks a little high here.
This sort of muddled thinking has probably contributed to a sequence of five defeats in the last six when chasing. With the hint of a toss bias at play, they look vulnerable.
On win rates Maxwell is underrated at Sportsbook’s 9/2. It’s a shame as we would have been on him for game three. As it is we are wary of going for back-to-back wins. We also rate Conway highly for the Kiwis and are always keen to take on Guptill. Conway is also 9/2.
The best option on the side markets is to take the 7/5 that New Zealand hit the most sixes. The traders appear to be pricing on reputation rather than record with this one. No team has hit more sixes that New Zealand in the last two years. They average more than eight per game. Australia average a shade over five.