Charge down the wicket with cricket tips as the in-form New Zealanders host Australia in the fourth of five T20I encounters.
17:00 (AEDT), Fri 5th Mar @ Sky Stadium, Wellington
History: Played 12: Australia 8 V New Zealand 3 (1 Tie)
Last meeting: March 3, 2021: Australia d New Zealand by 64 runs at Sky Stadium
Final Thoughts: Australia kept their T20I series in New Zealand alive with a convincing game three victory. The tourists now have their sights set on forcing a decider.
The Blackcaps surged to a 2-0 lead last week. Devon Conway (99* off 59) rescued a floundering NZ innings in the series opener, guiding the hosts to 5/184. Australia crashed to a 53-run loss with Mitch Marsh (45 off 33) their only batsman to fire. Ish Sodhi’s career-best 4/28 helped skittle the tourists for 131.
An out-of-sorts Martin Guptill roared back into form for the Kiwis in game two, smashing 97 off 50 balls in an imposing total of 7/219. Kane Williamson (53 off 35) and Jimmy Neesham (45* off 16) were also superb as every Aussie bowler went for 9.75 an over or more.
But a brilliant partnership from Marcus Stoinis (78 off 37) and Daniel Sams (41 off 15) saw Australia finish just four runs short of the target. Mitchell Santner (4/31) and a clutch last-over showing from Neesham (2/10) helped the Blackcaps hold on.
The Aussies built on that near miss with a 64-run thrashing of the hosts at an empty stadium in Wellington on Wednesday night.
Terribly out-of-form skipper Aaron Finch followed Guptill’s lead and smashed 69 off 44, while Josh Philippe scored more than 40 for the second straight game and Glenn Maxwell put twin failures behind him with a blistering 70 off 31 as Australia racked up 4/208.
Guptill (43 off 28) and Conway (38 off 27) were the only New Zealand batsman to get any traction. Ashton Agar then tore through the Kiwis’ middle- or lower-order to finish with an Australian T20I record 6/30. The Blackcaps crumbled to 144 all out in the 18th over.
The renaissance of Finch and Maxwell bodes extremely well for Australia. Matthew Wade is the only member of the top six without a score of 45-plus in the series so far.
Australia have edged into game four favouritism and are looking good to send this trans-Tasman rubber into a decider.