The Australian home international summer concludes over the next few days as they take on World Cup finalists New Zealand in what is likely to be a more competitive three match ODI series than some we see around the world.
New Zealand head across the water in good form after thrashing India in an ODI series recently while Australia were comfortably seen off in South Africa earlier this month, and will be looking to restore their confidence in the format.
When you consider the form Australia were in before they left for India and South Africa, and the dominating way they won two of the T20s in South Africa, the way they lost both ODI series was very much a surprise. You can allow them the India defeat. Conditions there are much different to back home and because of the Test series with New Zealand they didn’t have any time to acclimatise but the South Africa series carried no such excuse.
Australia have batted really well in their home conditions and bowled brilliantly but neither unit peaked away from home, so it is important for them to get back to their best if they are to come out on top in this series. The series itself might not mean much but there is a bit of a rivalry between these two nations so even though there is nothing competitive on it, they still won’t want to lose. All eyes will be on the Australian middle order in particular.
It has worked the other way around for New Zealand. They were hammered 5-0 by India in a T20 series between the two nations recently but then bounced back brilliantly to win the ODI series with a clean sweep and after also landing the two Test matches, the Kiwis will be heading to Australia full of confidence, even if they are carrying an injury or two. If they can win this opening match it would set them up nicely.
If they are going to do that they will need to do a lot better against this Australian bowling attack than they did in the Test series over Christmas. That should come naturally with a different mentality but they still need to deliver on it rather than promise to. You would think if they do bat well they have enough about them with the ball to go very close to victory here. They are generally decent in the field which helps.
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins missed the dead rubber finale in South Africa but both are expected to return to the side here. The only decision Australia need to make is whether to play two spinners or not.
New Zealand are expecting to have Lockie Ferguson back in their side for this match, which is entitled to make a huge difference to their attack. Trent Boult and Tom Latham are expected to be fit to feature too.
As with a few series recently the consensus is that this is going to be a high scoring affair but I’m not so convinced it will be. There has been a lot of rain around in recent times. We saw the women’s T20 semi-final involving England washed out and the Big Bash final was in serious danger at one point too. It is pretty late in the summer as well and this ground has seen a lot of cricket. Throw in that there is no crowd and I don’t expect much in the way of high scoring with no atmosphere and tough conditions.
The runs line for this match is 550.5 and with both sides utilising a couple of all-rounders in their ranks rather than out and out specialists I don’t think that bodes well for a high scoring game. This isn’t the easiest ground to score big on with spin often in play and pretty large boundaries. I’ll back the bowlers and go with under 550.5 runs for this one at odds against.
WON – Back Under 550.5 runs for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with Bet365