New Zealand V Australia: 1st ODI Match Fantasy Cricket Preview
After a pretty dismal Chappell-Hadlee series in Australia late last year where they went down 3-0, the Black Caps will be hoping to do exactly the same in New Zealand and win back the trophy as well as the bragging rights.
This series promises to be a fascinating one, particularly for the Australians who will be without their two most dominant batsmen, vice-captain David Warner and captain Steve Smith. This could be a blessing in disguise for New Zealand who struggled to contain the pair throughout that series, all of a sudden it looks like a level playing field with the odds slightly in favor of the Kiwis this time. Matthew Wade will lead the side for the series and will be in for a tough time, New Zealand are extremely dominant like all teams on their home turf. Thankfully, Australia have retained the same bowling attack that played Pakistan in a five-match series just recently which should see them have some success on some of these bowling-friendly wickets in New Zealand. There’s no doubt that this first game will play into the home sides hands, making it difficult for the new opening combination with the bat for Australia. If the Aussies happen to lose some quick wickets early in the innings, it could be a disaster given their track record in this particular country. Damaging seam & swing bowling will be something that the top order will have to negotiate if they are to have any success in this series whatsoever.
New Zealand on the other hand have a full-strength side, the return of Ross Taylor has bolstered their batting line-up ahead of this all important series. Taylor looks to be back in form with the bat as well with scores of 40, 60 & 77 in the test series against Bangladesh earlier this month. Another huge upside is that Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson are set for a huge series, especially without the likes of Warner and Smith to compete with which should take some pressure off them. Martin Guptill has an average of 47.08 in ODI cricket at home, scoring five of his eleven centuries on home soil. Kane Williamson is one of those batsman who can score runs in any country, his technique can be hard to break at times which usually results in a crucial knock from the Black Caps all-important No. 3. Expect some fireworks from Guptill in this opening game of the series, he’s a batman who can shatter the confidence of the best bowlers in a matter of overs. The dynamic-duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee accompanied by Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry who can both bowl in excess of 150 km’s with the ball could be hard to see off on these wickets that usually have a nice-green tinge to them.
Key Players | New Zealand | 1st ODI
Trent Boult (bowler)
This man is right up there with Mitchell Starc as one of the best current ODI bowlers in the world. He had some success in the recent test series against Bangladesh, but he excels with the white ball in particular. Bowling in familiar conditions at home, expect lots of damaging swing bowling, something Boult in renown for.
Kane Williamson (batsmen)
There isn’t a cricket supporter in the world that doesn’t enjoy watching Kane Williamson go about his business, unless of coarse your team is on the other end of it! The Back Caps skipper is expected to stand up big time in this series, although a surprising stat is that he has not yet scored a ODI century in Auckland, the venue for the first match.
Martin Guptill (batsmen)
The big-hitting Black Caps opener has a sensational ODI record at this ground, averaging 67.40 with the bat plus two centuries in his 13 matches in Auckland. It doesn’t matter if it’s a quick-fire fifty or a scintillating century, Martin Guptill usually gets his team off to a speedy start regardless of how many runs he makes.
James Neesham (all-rounder)
Neesham’s recent ODI tour of Australia was quite impressive, making some runs with the bat in the absence of Ross Taylor. The Black Caps all-rounder is also a genuine wicket taker with the ball making him a valuable selection knowing he has the capacity to fire with both bat and ball.
Key Players | Australia | 1st ODI
Aaron Finch (batsmen)
A successful stint for the Melbourne Renegades in BBL 06 sees Aaron Finch enter this tour with some much needed form, previously dropped from the ODI side against New Zealand in December. A couple years ago, Finch was Australia’s best ODI player in the side and has struggled to live up to those lofty-standards ever since.
Travis Head (batsmen)
Just recently involved in a record-breaking partnership at the Adelaide Oval against Pakistan, Travis Head has come of age very quickly as a player. The 23-year-old might be one of the most crucial performers in this upcoming series, in form with the willow and will most-likely bat at No. 3 in the first match.
Mitchell Starc (bowler)
Starc claimed his seventh four-wicket haul in Australia’s last match against Pakistan, furthermore showing that he is Australia’s most damaging wicket taker. Starc hasn’t even reached the prime of his career yet which is a daunting prospect, and these greener wickets in New Zealand should produce plenty of opportunists for Starc.
Josh Hazlewood (bowler)
Are Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood the best bowling duo in the world at the moment? they’re certainly right up there, that’s for sure. While Starc is a more venomous bowler who intimidates, Josh Hazlewood hunts for his wickets with his extreme-consistency to hit a line and length that make the batsmen play. Another one to watch out for in this opening game.
Team News | New Zealand
The return of Ross Taylor should see him slot straight back into the No. 4 spot, allowing Neesham to slide back down the order as the all-rounder. Tom Latham is expected to take the gloves after BJ Watling was dropped, adding Tom Blundell to the squad as the second wicketkeeping option. Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry will most likely be fighting it our for that third seamers spot in the side, depending on what conditions suit the individual best.
New Zealand (possible) – 1. Martin Guptill 2. Tom Latham (wk) 3. Kane Williamson (c) 4. Ross Taylor 5. Neil Broom 6. Colin Munro 7. James Neesham 8. Mitchell Santner 9. Tim Southee 10. Matt Henry/Lockie Ferguson 11. Trent Boult.
Team News | Australia
With the omissions of Usman Khawaja (dropped), David Warner (rested) and Steve Smith (ankle injury), Australia have opted to replace them with Shaun Marsh, Aaron Finch and Sam Heazlett. Marsh and Finch are expected to open the innings with Travis Head possibly slotting in at No. 3. Matthew Wade has taken over the captaincy and will play a crucial part in Australia’s middle order.
Australia (possible) – 1. Aaron Finch 2. Shaun Marsh 3. Travis Head 4. Peter Handscomb 5. Glenn Maxwell 6. Matthew Wade (c & wk) 7. James Faulkner 8. Mitchell Starc 9. Pat Cummins 10. Adam Zampa 11. Josh Hazlewood.
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Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.