New Zealand who was flying high with an unbeaten record is suddenly in a bit of bother after loss to Pakistan in their last game. They still need to play Australia and England and a loss in both their games may jeopardize their chances of making the final four. It is a minute possibility but that has been the beauty of this competition so far. New Zealand’s batting which has been their problem was once again the issue against Pakistan. Both Colin Munro and Martin Guptill have been struggling so far and this has put lots of pressure on the middle order. Even though Kane Williamson has been brilliant with the bat, he would be looking for more support from the rest of the batting.
The bowling attack struggled on a wicket which wasn’t suited for pacers in the game against Pakistan. In a wicket assisting spin, the selection was an issue as well as New Zealand went with just Mitchell Santner who was brilliant with the ball. The rest of the attack was pedestrian and only Trent Boult bowled well in that game. Even though New Zealand have been winning games the problems with their team combination finally caught up with them. They would like to correct the same in their final two games to back into the winning zone.
Australia though has been brilliant and are the only team to qualify for the semi-finals so far. Their bowling with the addition of Jason Behrendorff looked brilliant against England and their fielding was exceptional. Their batting with an in-form David Warner and Aaron Finch is looking dangerous but again their middle order hasn’t been looking the strongest. Usman Khawaja has not been in best of forms and Maxwell hasn’t been contributing with the bat. Marcus Stoinis has been providing some crucial breakthroughs with the ball but his batting has been a no show so far. The Aussies have few things to take care before the semi-finals and Shaun Marsh may get a look in at number four in the place of Khawaja for today’s game.
Head to head:
Australia has dominated New Zealand historically in ODIs and the World Cups haven’t been much different. Australia holds the edge with a 7-3 record against New Zealand in the World Cups.
Aaron Finch (Australia): Captain Aaron Finch has been in brilliant form and he along with David Warner has given the Aussies some fine starts in this competition. He is coming into this game on the back of a fantastic match-winning hundred against England and will once again be important against a good New Zealand bowling attack.
Jason Behrendorff (Australia): Behrendorff finally got his chance against England and he responded with a brilliant 5/44. He bowled brilliantly with the new ball and got the ball to swing and mixed his pace very well at the back of the innings. New Zealand top order has been struggling and he will once again be looking for wickets with the new ball.
Ross Taylor (New Zealand): Ross Taylor began the tournament well with a good inning in the warm-up game against India but hasn’t looked anywhere close to his best in the tournament so far. Kane Williamson will be hoping that Ross Taylor who has a good record against Australia comes to the party in this all-important game.
Mitchell Santner (New Zealand): Santner bowled brilliantly against Pakistan without any luck. On wickets which are dry and the oppositions vulnerability against good spin, New Zealand will be hoping Santner can provide them with control and wickets in the middle overs.
What they said?
“Usually you come to Lord’s and there’s sort of a quiet murmur when you play England, but I guess playing Australia it might be a little bit different when you have Kiwis and Australians filling out the seats. It will be a really good atmosphere, whatever it is.” Said New Zealand Skipper Kane Williamson about playing Australia at Lord’s
“You see a lot of smiles on people’s faces, which is a good sign that the game’s in really good hands at the moment, and that it’s being played in the right spirit. I’m not sure if it’s been a conscious effort from individual countries, but it’s certainly felt like a really, really good tournament.” Said Aaron Finch talking about the spirit with which the competition has been played so far.
David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Usman Khawaja/Shaun Marsh, Steve Smith, Glen Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Jason Behrendorff
New Zealand XI:
Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner/, Matt Henry/Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
Both teams so far have had a good tournament so far and have just lost one game each. New Zealand though would want to win this game and cement their spot in the final four beyond any doubt. Australia though would want to keep their winning momentum going to have a chance to finish at the top of the table. The history between the two teams suggests that the home of cricket will witness an enthralling encounter between the two good sides. Even though the matchup is close Australia start off as the favorites in this game between the rivals.