New Zealand appear to have broken the hold Australia have held over them
in T20I cricket with an emphatic victory in the series opener. The Aussies should be eager to respond with an improved display after a rejigged
top-order suffered another one of the implosions that have plagued the team in
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
New Zealand vs Australia | Second T20I | Thursday 25 February 2021 | University Oval, Dunedin | 03:00
To Win Match
New Zealand 8/10
SA-born Devon Conway announced his arrival as a big-time player on the T20I scene with his incredible 99 not out in the series opener that came after New Zealand lost a string of wickets. Their opening effort showed how deep the Black Caps bat, and also how composed the likes of Conway and Glenn Phillips can be under pressure.
With the ball in hand, New Zealand made early inroads with pace before Australia’s soft underbelly was exposed by the legs-spin of Ish Sodhi.
The length of the series means that New Zealand could rotate their XI even though they won the opening match.
In New Zealand, the new white ball does quite a bit, and it seems that the powerplay could be less significant to the outcome of the contests.
New Zealand showed great respect to Australia’s lead spinner and came away having not lost a wicket to the turning ball while five of the tourists were dismissed by tweakers.
The University Oval in Dunedin will play host to its first T20I, which should give the hosts the edge.
Australia’s ability to chase under pressure in the T20I arena has come under scrutiny for some time. While the team has generally done well in the format, big chases and pressure situations have seen them fold frequently.
The rejigged top-order seems to lack experience, and those players who are seasoned in international cricket are struggling for form.
Skipper Aaron Finch finds himself under pressure, not so much for a poor run in international cricket but because of a lean BBL, which suggests he is out of touch. Finch needs to lead the charge if Australia want to fight back.
Australia would welcome the return of Mitchell Marsh, even if it is just as a batsman, and he showed his quality by top-scoring for the tourists.
The bowlers allowed New Zealand to get out of a hole with not enough pressure being put on the hosts through the middle overs. Kane Richardson and Ashton Agar being the biggest offenders.
Verdict: New Zealand
The hosts should be able to build momentum after a dominant win in Christchurch.
Written by James Richardson.