New Zealand and Australia go head to head in the third and final ODI at Seddon Park in Hamilton this Saturday.
Following the debacle at Napier in which no balls were bowled, New Zealand and Australia will turn their attention toward the third and final Chappell-Hadlee Trophy match to be hosted at Seddon Park.
So then, can the Black Caps regain the trophy they lost at the same time last year or will the Aussies – without the help of Steve Smith and David Warner – bounce back after their defeat in the first ODI?
New Zealand vs Australia | Saturday 4 February | Seddon Park, Hamilton | 23:00
To Win Match
New Zealand 5/4 | Tie 35/1 | Australia 67/100
The Black Caps would have been disappointed not to get a run around in Napier earlier this week. Bizarrely, a wet outfield meant that not a single ball was bowled despite no rain falling for four hours after play was scheduled to start.
Anyway that debacle aside, there’s still one more game to be played in this series – and the Black Caps will want to be firing on all cylinders in order regain the Trans-Tasmanian trophy. The big news coming out of the their camp is the return of leg-spinner, Ish Sodhi.
Sodhi was sensational in the Big Bash for the Adelaide Strikers, claiming astonishing figures of 6-11 in his final game for the Australian franchise. He has since returned to Northern Districts back in New Zealand in List A cricket where he's been picking up regular wickets.
We’re still unsure on the availability of Martin Guptill after the burly opener was left out of the last ODI because of a hamstring issue. His presence will be greatly missed at the top of the order if he isn’t fit going into Hamilton.
Guptill averages 44 on this ground while his captain, Kane Williamson, averages 41. Their performances with the bat will be crucial in Saturday’s crunch fixture. It’s also worth mentioning Ross Taylor’s numbers are the ground. The Wellington-native is the second-highest run scorer at the ground behind the phenomenon that is Brendon McCullum.
With Sodhi returning and the possibility that Guptill could play puts New Zealand in a very good position on the eve of the third ODI. They have the momentum at the moment and should be able to put the series to bed in Hamilton.
The men in gold will field a weakened team for this last ODI. The absence of David Warner and Steve Smith will give the hosts confidence, although Aaron Finch at the top of any order is a bit of a frightening prospect for any bowling side.
The big Aussie opener had an excellent Big Bash and will be desperate to nail down a place in the side going into the ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales later this year. The rest of the visitor’s top order will also need to step up to the plate.
You can’t chase down a mediocre target of 286 when your top six make a combined score of 56. You can’t always rely on Marcus Stoinis to smash a quick-fire 146, or James Faulkner and Pat Cummins to come in for a bit of hit and giggle.
Finch, Travis Head, Sean Marsh, Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell are far better than the first ODI would suggest. If they can negate the early stages where Trent Boult and Tim Southee will no doubt be moving the ball around.
While the Australians will be lighter in terms of their batting, they’ll have a full pace complement of Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner. The four are likely to be first choice going into the ICC Champions Trophy.
Verdict: New Zealand 5/4
New Zealand should have enough to get the job done against the Australians. They’ve got a good record at Seddon Park and will be desperate to win the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy back from an Australian outfit that seems more focused on the upcoming tour of India rather than this series.