Australia vs New Zealand: Ask an Aussie what his favourite quirk is? One would be making sheep jokes about New Zealand & the other would be to beat them black & blue. The Trans-Tasman rivalry will yet again take centre stage. Extremely significant for one team & nugatory for the other. The stakes are high for the Kiwis. A win here would seal the deal for them but if they finish second best against an in-form Aussie unit, the pressure will be paramount when they take on England in their final league game.
Australia seem far more superior & it’ll need a special effort from the New Zealanders to secure two crucial points. How do you deal with the current Aussie side? The only hiccup they’ve had was in the game against India & if the two teams meet yet again, the men in yellow they’ll assuredly have an upper hand, considering the absence of Shikhar Dhawan & a timid Indian middle order. The Haka routine might intimidate their neighbours but this Aussie side will need much more than stern daunting. A massive hundred from one of the top-order batsman perhaps.
Aaron Finch & David Warner have scored 996 runs for Australia. Mitchell Starc & Pat Cummins have dismissed 30 batsmen. The Blackcaps have their work cut out & they’ll probably need the likes of Martin Guptill, Tom Latham & Ross Taylor to fire for them. Latham especially, who’s scored only 27 runs in 5 innings. He’s got the technique to work out the Aussie pacers but can he come good when the Kiwis need him the most?
CLOSE WINS FOR NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand have had some nail-biting encounters this World Cup. They beat the Windies by 5 runs. Registered 2-wicket & 4-wicket wins over Bangladesh & South Africa respectively. The Aussies have been clinical & they have the firepower to execute in dire situations. The Aussies are favourites to win this fixture.
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Where: Lord’s, London
When: 29th June 2019, Saturday
Kick-Off Time: 6:00 PM, IST
The last time these two teams met in a World Cup fixture, the Aussies were crowned World Champions. 4 years later, things haven’t changed drastically. The Australians are the favourite to clinch yet another title & the Kiwis are prime contenders. The men in yellow lead the overall record by a mile. 90-39. In World Cup cricket, the Aussies have won 7 of the 10 games played between the two sides.
In the English conditions, out of the 4 games, both teams have won a game each. New Zealand’s victory here came in the 1999 World Cup. At Lord’s, this will be the first ever Australia vs New Zealand fixture.
Australia at Lord’s: Played – 21, Won – 13, Lost – 7
New Zealand at Lord’s: Played – 3, Won – 3, Lost – 0
Teams batting first have won 28 games whilst teams chasing have won 32 matches. In the 2019 World Cup, teams setting targets came out victorious. Pakistan & Australia beat South Africa & Sri Lanka respectively & by comfortable margins. The team winning the toss would want to bat first. In the last 4 years, the scoring rate has gone up to 5.58 runs-per-over & teams batting first have won 5 games out of 7 in this interim.
Highest score at this venue: 334/ by England vs India in 1975.
Best Bowling figures: 5/30 by Daniel Vettori against the Windies in 2004
Highest individual score: 138* by Sir Viv Richards vs England in 1979
Shadab Khan & Imran Tahir purchased bounce & turn off this wicket. Behrendorff & Starc spit venom in the previous game. Clearly, the turf offers plenty to the pacers & the tweakers.
The Aussies are expected to remain unchanged. Jason Behrendorff & Nathan Lyon are likely to retain their spots.
Matt Henry started off the World Cup campaign on a high. The pacer picked 7 wickets in his first 2 games but in the last 4, he’s managed to pick only 1. Tim Southee then is likely to be considered. Ish Sodhi has spent the entire World Cup on the sidelines. Will Mitchell Santner make way for the wrist spinner?
EXPECTED PLAYING XI
Probable XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Glen Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Jason Behrendorff
Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner/Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
THE BATTLE OF THE PACERS
Mitchell Starc is one of the finest bowlers in world cricket. The left-arm pacer can swing the ball both ways & is extremely lethal in the death overs. In the last two editions of the World Cup, Starc has picked 41 wickets in 15 games which include 2 5-wicket hauls & 3 4-wicket hauls. Against New Zealand, the fiery speedster has dismissed 18 batsmen in 8 matches. While Starc has known to swing the new ball at rapid pace his record against the tail is mind-boggling. Out of his 164 ODI wickets, 43 have been tail-enders & 14 of them were dismissed for a duck. Watch out for those toe-crushing yorkers.
Lockie Ferguson has bowled fast & with a lot of discipline. The pacer has bowled over 90 mph consistently & he’ll be a player to watch out for when the two rivals meet. Ferguson has been exceptional with the semi-new kookaburra & if Trent Boult or Matt Henry don’t pick early wickets, Ferguson will get Williamson the important breakthroughs. In the 2019 World Cup, Ferguson has a dot ball % of 60.5 & his strike-rate is a splendid 21.4.
|MITCHELL STARC||LOCKIE FERGUSON|
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