All fired up


The New Zealand Herald - - FRONT PAGE - An­drew Alder­son

Ev­i­dence sug­gests New Zealand must at­tack Aus­tralia’s modus operandi to break their trio of tri-se­ries vic­to­ries tonight at Eden Park.

In short that means: win­ning the toss, mak­ing the vis­i­tors set rather than chase a to­tal, and sur­viv­ing the open­ing pow­erplay overs.

This re­vamped Aus­tralian T20 side, pre­dom­i­nantly se­lected on Big Bash League form, has been a jug­ger­naut which will take courage to rat­tle.

Some­how, the New Zealan­ders must find a way. The blue­print pro­duced against Eng­land at Welling­ton would suf­fice. One wicket down in the pow­erplay overs; an 82-run sec­ond-wicket stand be­tween Martin Gup­till and Kane Wil­liamson; self­less hit­ting from debu­tants Mark Chap­man and Tim Seifert; qual­ity spin from Mitchell Sant­ner and fear­less death bowl­ing from Tim Southee and Trent Boult. They just need to fix their out­field catch­ing.

Aus­tralian skip­per David Warner has in­serted the op­po­si­tion in each of their three vic­to­ries.

Pace bowlers Billy Stan­lake, An­drew Tye and Kane Richard­son have put in­tol­er­a­ble pres­sure on top or­ders, de­spite the field be­ing up for the first six overs.

Stan­lake has six wick­ets at an av­er­age of 14.33, econ­omy rate of 7.16 and strike rate of 12 this se­ries; Tye has six wick­ets at an av­er­age of 13.33, econ­omy rate of 6.66 and strike rate of 12; Richard­son has four wick­ets at an av­er­age of 22, econ­omy rate of 7.33 and strike rate of 18.

Stan­lake (three for 15 against New Zealand at Syd­ney) and Richard­son (three for 33 against Eng­land at Mel­bourne) have won man-of-the-match awards.

At Syd­ney, Aus­tralia had New Zealand 29 for three at the end of the pow­erplay, in­clud­ing a can­di­date for ball of the tour­na­ment from Stan­lake to take the top of Gup­till’s off stump. At Ho­bart and Mel­bourne, Eng­land were 60 for one and 42 for three re­spec­tively.

Ex­pe­ri­enced Aus­tralian bats­man Aaron Finch said the task of chas­ing had been eased by their bowlers.

“The way we’ve started with the new ball, par­tic­u­larly in that first game, put New Zealand on the back foot with a cou­ple of early wick­ets and re­ally tight bowl­ing.

“It just makes the mid­dle overs so much more im­por­tant be­cause you have got spin­ners like [Ash­ton] Agar and [Adam] Zampa, guys who can skip through a few overs quick, and you al­ways feel ahead of the game.

“Our first six [overs] is some­thing we’ve iden­ti­fied where we haven’t been at our best in the past. Big Billy [Stan­lake], AJ [Tye], and Kane [Richard­son] have come in and stamped their author­ity on games. That can be hard in T20s when the ball flies around, you’re bowl­ing to good play­ers, and only have two men out.”

Finch pointed to the Syd­ney game, where New Zealand were 16 for three af­ter 3.2 overs, as the tem­plate.

“We didn’t let [Colin] Munro and Gup­till get away, and we know they can be so dam­ag­ing. It’s just about try­ing to main­tain pres­sure. If you can get on top early, hope­fully you can re­ally squeeze that mid­dle or­der. We know they’re go­ing to keep play­ing their shots . . . so make them take risks in the power play.”

Gup­till says they’re aware of their weak­nesses.

“In T20, the more early wick­ets you get, the bet­ter. Like in Syd­ney, when you’re three down in the front six, his­tory would tell you it’s hard to re­cover.”

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