New Zealand v Australia
Saturday 6 March, 23:00
TV: live on BT Sport
Hosts under pressure
New Zealand have been pegged back to all square after taking a 2-0 lead in the series. What’s gone wrong? Well, their batting has gone to pieces. They were bowled out for just 106 in game four on Friday following on from a 64-run defeat chasing 208.
They were oddly becalmed. The 106 was not a case of batsmen going too hard and paying the price. Not a single player in the top seven had a strike rate of more than 85. Extraordinary. And they were only going after 157.
At the break the Kiwis were favourite for the win but there had been some sloppiness in the field. They had allowed Australia to recover from 114 for six in the 17th. Kyle Jamieson is under pressure from Mark Chapman.
Possible XI Guptill, Seifert, Williamson, Conway, Phillips, Neesham, Santner, Southee, Jamieson, Sodhi, Bolt
Finch fires again
Aaron Finch is an Australia T20 hero again. Back-to-back fifties for the big man. His 79 came off 55 balls and he muscled four sixes. Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis also made rapid cameos.
But the bowlers should get the plaudits. Kane Richardson took three for 19 and kudos to Ashton Agar who was asked to open the bowling, holding his nerve superbly in the powerplay. He took another two to go with the six in the previous game. The Kiwis have him in their head.
Despite two wins on the spin, we are not enamoured with Australia’s balance. If Josh Phillipe plays he should open, allowing Maxwell and Stoinis to move up the order. We’re not really sure they need Matthew Wade. In an ideal word Ashton Turner would come in as a finisher but he has gone home.
D’Arcy Short and Tanveer Sangha are possible additions because they add to the spin threat. It seems unlikely Australia change a winning combo, though.
Possible XI Wade, Finch, Phillipe, Maxwell, Stoinis, Marsh, Agar, J Richardson, K Richardson, Zampa, Meredith
The toss bias at Wellington’s Westpac came to the fore in game four. It is now six wins out of the last eight for the side batting first. Both teams were surprised at the stodgy nature of the surface. Spinners were bang in the game. We should expect something similar. The players will expect something similar, too, with 160 the target. There is some rain around early doors which complicates matter for innings runs wagers.
New Zealand are 2.1411/10 with Australia 1.865/6. We don’t agree with the gulf in odds and the market has overreacted to those two Aussie wins. We actually rate the hosts as the better side.
To take those odds about the Kiwis, though, we don’t actually have to believe they are better. Merely that they are as good. With the toss in their favour, they have the skills and nous to put Australia under pressure. As we said before the fourth match, Australia’s recent record chasing is five defeats in the last six. This could be a case of planets coming in to line.
Value abounds on the side markets. Maxwell gives us five percentage points on implied probability at 7/2 for top Aussie bat with Sportsbook. For New Zealand, we suspect Conway is a wager at 4s. He has two wins in nine and although the study sample is skinny, he has the talent to cop at a greater rate than 20%.
With spin likely to be key, Santner has a decent record on top bowler. He returns money 35% of the time and goes off at 4s.
Sportsbook have cut New Zealand to 13/10 from 7/5 after we pointed out that New Zealand average almost three sixes more per game.