One day international cricket, New Zealand vs. Australia, Monday, February 8, 2016, noon AEDT, Seddon Park, Hamilton, New Zealand, Watch on Fox Sports
WELL, much maligned all rounder Mitch Marsh has pretty much sealed his spot in the Australian one day international team after leading the Aussies home in a high scoring thriller over New Zealand in match two, allowing them to play off for the spoils in match three.
And the Australians are the favourites to win the third and final game at Seddon Park tomorrow, with the Kiwis $2.07 outsiders to take the chocolates.
After being crippled by the Kiwis in match one, Australia looked up against it when the Black Caps rattled off a massive 9/281 in match two, led by their superstar Kane Williamson, who cracked 60 of 74 balls, including five fours and a six.
New Zealand had contributions across the board, with eight batsmen reaching double figures and six of those registering 28 or more, all rounder Mitchell Santner the next best with a cracking 45 off 39 balls that featured three fours and a six.
But it was captain Brendon McCullum who set the tone, his brutal batting at the top of the order yielding 28 off just 12 balls, before he was bowled by Aussie seamer Scott Boland. McCullum cracked two fours and three sixes in his whirlwind knock that gave the Kiwis a superb platform to build on.
But spearhead Josh Hazlewood was up to the task, snaring 3/61, while Boland, debutante Adam Zampa and Marsh grabbed two wickets each.
The Aussies set about the task of the chase with aplomb, new addition Usman Khawaja – finally picked by the selectors – putting on a century stand to open the innings with master blaster David Warner.
Khawaja, who missed the opening match despite being among the most in form bats in the world, clubbed seven fours on his way to 50 of 49 balls, perhaps locking down a spot in the side for the foreseeable future.
But he took a back seat to the Warner show.
The Aussie superstar was at his dominant best, ripping apart the New Zealand attack with superb hitting that had them running for cover in the stands.
His innings was terminated just two runs short of his century when he was trapped LBW on Santner.
But that was not before he hammered eight fours and four sixes in his 98 off 79 balls.
At 0-122, it looked like the Australians were about to cruise to victory, but a mini collapse tipped the balance back in New Zealand’s favour.
But they lost 4-22 to be left reeling at 4/144, with plenty to get.
And, after the horrible performance in game one, where they were routed for just 148, it could have been a case of history repeating.
But Marsh did not want to let that happen.
His mature 69 of 72 balls was backed up by all rounder John Hastings’ 48 off 47, giving the Australians a six wicket victory with more than three overs to spare and setting up a superb tussle for the rights to the Chapel-Hadlee trophy on Monday.
Marsh pounded nine fours and a six, while Hastings hit five fours and a six.
Santner had a day to remember, adding to his hitting with 3-47 to be the best Kiwi bowler.
It’s been a very good week for Marsh.
The all rounder went into the match knowing the Indian Premier League auction was about to happen.
And he would have been pleased with the results after this match winning display with both ball and bat.
New franchise Rising Pune Superstars paid a cool $1 million for Marsh to step out for them when the T20 competition kicks off on April 16.
Khawaja’s innings was something of a vindication for his inclusion, after the Australian selectors flat out refused to give him a go, despite some remarkable form across all platforms of cricket.
“All the guys here (who have been in the XI this summer) deserve to be here,” Khawaja said after he had been omitted from match one.
”I’m not really sure what selectors are thinking so at the moment, I’m just enjoying my cricket.
“I just like scoring runs.”
Can Steve Smith finally produce for Australia
Steve Smith over 38.5 runs ($1.88 with CrownBet.com.au)
Steve Smith to score more runs than David Warner ($1.88 with Crownbet.com.au)
Ok, that might be a bit of a harsh head line and it seems a strange thing to say about a guy who has plundered just about every attack he has faced this season. But Smith has had a rough trot over the past few weeks and he simply has not been able to get going.
New Zealand has not been a happy hunting ground for Smith, who has just the 80 runs at 26 from his four digs against the old enemy – and 56 of those runs came in an unbeaten innings. So that means from the remaining times he has visited the wicket, he has scored just 24 runs, a remarkable stat, considering he averages over 40 in the 50 over game now. And, after making a start with 18 off 17 balls in match one, including three boundaries, Smith looked so out of sorts in match two that maybe he needs a rest? His go slow two runs off 12 balls could have proved costly for the Australians, were it not for the heroics of Marsh.
Smith is far too good with the willow not to bounce out of this slump he is in and we think he can provide the impetus for an Australian series victory. And yes, we know Warner was the hero in match two, but he is still susceptible to that early swing the Kiwis are able to produce and we think tomorrow will be Smith’s Day.
Will Mitchell Santner lead the way for the Kiwis again?
Mitchell Santner to lead the wicket taking for New Zealand ($5.50 with CrownBet.com.au)
Mitchell Santner to take more wickets than Adam Zampa ($1.75 with CrownBet.com.au)
If Smith is to make an impact, he will have to deal with in form all rounder Mitchell Santner, who is coming off a bag of three wickets that ultimately did not prove fruitful for the New Zealanders in match two. He only bowled two balls in match one and they provided two wickets as he snared the last pair to lead the Kiwis to victory in that match.
The all rounder got more of a run with the rock in match two and he did it with aplomb. He seems to have mesmerised the Aussie bats and we again expect him to be a handful.
The new Aussie spinner Zampa was no slouch in his first game on the international stage, picking up two wickets, but we think Santner will have his measure in this one. And, despite the likes of Trent Boult using the new rock, we’re going to back Santner in to have his third big game in a row.
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