New Zealand vs Australia 2021 2nd T20I Preview: Oz look to budget for extravagant swing against the Boult-Southee threat
New Zealand's new ball bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult made the ball talk in the first T20I as the fate of the match was essentially decided within the powerplay.
Depleted Australia found short
Given that Australia ranks second in the ICC T20I rankings while New Zealand find themselves at 6th place, the former were expected to put in a stronger show than what they ended up doing in the series opener.
At the same time, Australia were without several of their first-choice players like David Warner, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. Although they still fielded a pretty good playing XI, they ended up short of the mark.
Australia included the likes of Josh Philippe, Mitchell Marsh, Daniel Sams and Jhye Richardson in the playing XI, all of whom have recently done well in the Big Bash League.
Kiwis make the most of favourable conditions
New Zealand, who were close to full strength with the exception of tearaway Lockie Ferguson, who is nursing an injury, made good use of their home conditions. In fact, it was a surprise for both teams that the ball was swinging as much as it was and New Zealand even had three slips at one point, which hardly happens in T20 cricket.
Having the conditions in your favour and making the most of them are two different things and the experienced pair of Tim Southee and Trent Boult was right on the money, leaving too much to do for the Australian middle order.
Conway sets it up with masterful 99*
When Australia won the toss and opted to bowl, they would not have expected the amount of assistance they got in the air as New Zealand were left reeling at 19/3.
After Guptill did not trouble the scorers, Tim Seifert and Kane Williamson were also dismissed cheaply. It was then time for the Devon Conway show, who ended up being unbeaten on 99 while batting at a strike rate of close to 170.
Conway got the support of Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham as New Zealand were successful in recovering from a poor start.
Daniel Sams and Jhye Richardson picked up two wickets each for Australia while Adam Zampa was the most economical of the lot, bowling at an economy rate of 6.70. Jhye Richardson was the pick of the Aussie bowlers.
The chase, which never really began
Australia could never get into the chase as they found themselves at 19/4 at one point during the powerplay. While Trent Boult accounted for the dismissals of Matthew Wade and debutant Josh Philippe, Tim Southee got the better of Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell, who was caught by Jimmy Neesham at second slip - a rare sight in T20 cricket.
Mitchell Marsh was the only Australian batsman who was able to dominate the New Zealand bowlers. Ashton Agar looked good for his 23 off 13 deliveries but could not last long enough.
Ish Sodhi ended up being the highest wicket taker for New Zealand with 4 wickets while conceding 28 runs from his four overs as Australia were bowled out for 131 in the 18th over and suffered a huge loss by 53 runs.
Big couple of games for Guptill
Given that this was only the first match of a 5-match long T20I series, both sides are expected to show faith in the selected playing XI.
It will be a big game for Martin Guptill, who was dismissed for a duck in the series opener. Guptill is under the pump with Finn Allen having done exceptionally well in the domestic Super Smash and waiting in the wings.
If Guptill is not able to cash in on a couple more opportunities, it might be curtains for his international career, especially given that the upcoming T20 World Cup is not a long way away now.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
New Zealand - Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult
Australia - Aaron Finch (c), Matthew Wade (wk), Josh Philippe, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh, Daniel Sams, Ashton Agar, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa
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