Thursday February 2, 12:30pm AEDT
After a thrilling win in the series opener, New Zealand will be hoping to secure the Chappell-Hadlee trophy with victory over Australia in the second ODI at McLean Park on Thursday.
After being sent in to bat at Eden Park, the Kiwis got off to a positive start at 1/87 in the 14th over, however a mini-collapse of 4/47 soon had them on the back foot and staring down the barrel of an under-par total. But thanks to a steadying 73 off 75 balls from the in-form Neil Broom, as well as an aggressive 48 off 45 balls from all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, they were able to drag themselves to a competitive 9/286.
Earlier Martin Guptill shrugged off a recent run of outs to compile a promising 61 off 73 balls, however Ross Taylor could only stammer his way to 16 off 24 deliveries which means that he has now scored just one half-century in his past ten ODI innings’.
Early wickets to the new ball pair of Trent Boult (2/58 off nine overs) and Tim Southee (1/63 off ten overs) reduced Australia to 3/18 in reply, before the contrast of Mitchell Santner’s wily left-arm orthodox (3/44 off ten overs) and Lockie Ferguson’s raw pace (2/44 off ten overs) ran through the visitor’s middle-order to leave them with little hope at 6/67 and the run rate required in excess of seven an over.
It was at this point that unheralded Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis launched into one of the most remarkable one-day knocks seen in recent times, belting 11 sixes on his way to an unbeaten 146 and taking his side to within seven runs of victory, before a sharp piece of fielding from Black Caps captain Kane Williamson rescued the hosts, running out last man Josh Hazlewood to deliver a dramatic victory.
However the home side have been hit by the news that Guptill will miss the second ODI due to hamstring soreness with Dean Brownlie drafted into the squad.
There is no doubt that Australia have Stoinis to thank for getting so close in Auckland, however the Victorian’s contributions were not limited to the bat as it was his 3/49 off ten overs in the field that stagnated New Zealand’s innings through the middle overs, with some help from fellow all-rounders Travis Head (1/21 off five overs) and James Faulkner (1/29 off six overs).
Unfortunately young paceman Pat Cummins did not exhibit the same control, with his final two overs taken for 25 on the way to conceding 2/67 off nine overs. However the chief concern for the World Champions will be the returns of their revamped top-order who, in the absence of David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith, failed to fire and put their side firmly on the back foot. Makeshift captain Aaron Finch was the first to fall for just four which makes it six consecutive one-day innings’ in which he has failed to reach 20.
However the struggles of the top six made Stoinis’ innings all the more astonishing. Coming in at number seven in just his second ODI, Stoinis began cautiously with only 14 off his first 35 balls, before commencing a vicious assault to finish with 146 off just 117 balls and drag his side to within a whisker of a famous victory. Stoinis did receive valuable support down the order from both Faulkner (25 off 49) and Cummins (36 off 28), before sharing in a preposterous last-wicket stand of 54 with Josh Hazlewood who incredibly did not face a ball.
After a back compliant forced his late withdrawal from the series opener, tour captain Matthew Wade will hope to return in Napier with young Queenslander Sam Heazlett set to make way.
Data from McLean Park is slightly skewed with the last three ODIs at the ground all featuring minnows such as the UAE and Afghanistan, however in the last match between two test-playing nations New Zealand amassed a colossal 5/369 against Pakistan in 2015. The Black Caps have won their last three ODIs here with Kane Williamson scoring 216 runs across those three victories.
- New Zealand have won their last seven ODI series’ at home.
- New Zealand have won 12 of their past 14 ODIs at home when batting first.
- New Zealand have won their last three matches at McLean Park.
- Australia have now lost their past six ODIs away from home.
- Australia have also lost five of their past six ODIs in New Zealand.
- Australia have won six of their past seven ODIs when batting first.
After a tight finish in Auckland, the market is finding it very hard to separate the sides with very little difference between the odds of these two adversaries.
There was plenty to like about the Kiwis’ performance at Eden Park, particularly in the field where they really put the Aussies’ makeshift top-order to the sword before struggling to contain a rampant Stoinis. Their efforts with the bat were less convincing, however the fact that they managed to put up a score close to 300 despite losing nine wickets is a positive sign, as was the way they worked through a middle-order malaise to rebuild the innings against a near full-strength Australian attack.
Perhaps the most concerning aspect of their performance was not so much their bowlers helplessness against Stoinis, but their inability to see off the Australian tail with Cummins’ knock in particular largely forgotten in amongst the carnage at the other end. Nevertheless they preserved their excellent home record and their price here has again caught my attention.
For Australia there should be no papering over the cracks – a once-in-a-lifetime innings prevented them from suffering a heavy defeat with their worrying trend of below-par performances away from home continuing.
Without Warner and Smith in particular there are serious question marks over whether this batting line-up can post the sort of scores required on these small grounds, especially against a Black Caps attack which caused problems both with the new ball, then during the middle overs.
If Australia are to square the series then you feel as if they will need to get more out of their much-vaunted pace attack, however the series has come at the end of a long summer for Starc and Hazlewood, while Cummins is still searching for the sort of consistency required at international level.
There is no doubt that Stoinis’ all-round performance at Eden Park was one of the most memorable in the history of Australian limited overs cricket, but what should not be forgotten is that the previously anonymous all-rounder took a third of Australia’s wickets then scored over half of their runs, highlighting just how poor his other ten teammates were.
Stoinis’ record at domestic level suggests he is unlikely to replicate anything anywhere near what he achieved in Auckland for some time, but what can be relied upon is for the Kiwis to be at their best on home soil, although I have less faith in the remainder of the Australian side to lift their own individual performances.
Had Stoinis not embarked on his remarkable heist attempt then I am certain that a heavy New Zealand victory would have resulted in the hosts starting a much shorter price here, and I do believe that their odds should indeed be skinnier than what the market has them here. With a more rounded side and a near-impenetrable record at home I’m happy to go in on New Zealand again and back them to go up 2-0 in the series.
BACK – New Zealand at 2.00 or bigger for 2 units.