New Zealand v Australia Third ODI

Sunday February 5, 9:00am AEDT

After a washout in Napier, New Zealand and Australia will head to Hamilton for the third and final ODI to be played at Seddon Park on Sunday.


New Zealand

The Black Caps maintained their 1-0 series lead after an aggravating day at McLean Park which ended in frustration as the game was abandoned without a ball being bowled, despite no rain falling for four hours after the scheduled start of play. Ultimately the outfield was deemed unfit for play and you get the sense the hosts were probably happy not to risk any further mishaps, with up to four fast-bowlers and regular keeper-batsman Luke Ronchi already unavailable for the series through injury.

The extra three days may prove crucial for opener Martin Guptill who was ruled out of the second ODI with a hamstring compliant, however will be monitored ahead of this match. Despite a lean time in the series against Bangladesh, there is no denying that Guptill is a key plank in the Kiwis side, top-scoring for New Zealand in ODIs for the past two years in which time he has averaged 55.63.

The additional time will also give the Kiwis a chance to digest how they very nearly contrived to lose the series opener in Auckland, despite reducing Australia to 6/67 in pursuit of 286. Undoubtedly their bowlers will have spent plenty of time and energy in putting together plans to curb the remarkable hitting of Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis who single-handedly took the visitors to the brink of an incredible victory. The Black Caps have also invested in further resources with leg-spinner Ish Sodhi added to the squad, with the Seddon Park pitch expected to take some turn.


Australia

For Australia the extra time between games has not been enough for stand-in skipper Matthew Wade, with the pugnacious ‘keeper succumbing to a back injury and returning home to Australia ahead of the upcoming tour to India. That means that Aaron Finch will maintain his role as captain despite suffering his own injury scare in Auckland, while Victorian teammate Peter Handscomb will continue to deputise behind the stumps.

Handscomb will be hoping to improve his glovework after dropping two catches and conceding eight byes at Eden Park in an uncharacteristically sloppy performance. However the main area of improvement that the Aussies will need to focus on is in the top-order with the likes of Finch, Handscomb and Travis Head all dismissed for single-figures in Auckland.

The size of the task facing the Australian batting unit is immense when you consider that absentees David Warner, Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, George Bailey, Mitchell Marsh and Wade have between them contributed over two-thirds of Australia’s runs in ODI since the start of 2016. However Australia’s bowling collective have no such excuses with Marsh the only missing component from their first-choice attack. With the hosts openly speaking of the pitch suiting slower bowlers it seems likely that Australia will bring in a spinner of their own with leggie Adam Zampa in the frame to come into the starting XI at the expense of either James Faulkner or Pat Cummins.


Seddon Park

Five of the past seven first innings scores in ODIs at Seddon Park have landed between 240 and 280 with the side batting second winning four of the past six games. In the last ODI at the ground which featured both of these sides the pitch did take spin as the tweakers conceded runs at just 4.33 an over, with the quicks going at almost five an over.


Key Stats

  • 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 four of their past five ODIs at Seddon Park.
  • Australia have 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.

The Verdict

With the series on the line the visitors have been backed in to square the ledger and retain the Chappell-Hadlee trophy, leaving the hosts as outsiders.

For New Zealand, little has changed since their victory in Eden Park aside from the doubt over Guptill which granted is a significant factor when assessing their chances. However there has been no change to their phenomenal record at home with Seddon Park another venue in which they have tasted plenty of success against quality opposition, overturning Australia, India and England here in recent years. Their success has often been built on batting first and putting up formidable totals, however the trend of the chasing side winning in Hamilton shows they are an adaptable unit and I find it slightly curious that they are clear underdogs here.

Australia too have enjoyed plenty of success when batting first in ODI cricket, however the composition of their top six is almost entirely different to that which has taken them to the pinnacle in recent times. The Aussies have generally dominated this format, winning the 2015 World Cup and since the start of 2014 they have only spent two months outside the summit of the ICC rankings. Those sorts of achievements cannot be accomplished without admirable depth, however it is hard to remember a time when their resources were quite as stretched as they are now.

The good news is that their frontline bowling attack remains largely intact, unlike their last away ODI series to South Africa when a makeshift attack saw them fail to win a match. Now that they have a similarly second-choice batting line-up there is every chance they will suffer the same fate across the ditch.

When I think back to the series opener I just cannot overlook how Australia were staring down the barrel of a considerable defeat, only to get within a whisker of victory thanks to a once-in-a-lifetime innings from Marcus Stoinis. Those who saw Stoinis labour to an unconvincing 4 off 12 balls at the batsmen’s paradise of North Sydney Oval in a Matador Cup fixture back in October will have been especially shocked that he was able to produce an innings of such quality, however what it does tell us is that he is unlikely to replicate such a match-changing contribution, placing the onus firmly on his counterparts in the top order.

Up against a canny New Zealand attack with a history of flourishing on home soil I cannot have an Australian side missing so many of their established batsmen as favourites here and will therefore be backing the Black Caps to reclaim the Chappell-Hadlee trophy and secure an eighth straight ODI series win at home.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – New Zealand at 2.16 or bigger for 2 units.


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