New Zealand v Australia, 1st Twenty20, Wellington

Australia set to kick off New Zealand tour

The Preview by Brydon Coverdale

February 25, 2010

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

Match Facts


Brendon McCullum plays an aggressive shot, New Zealand v Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, Christchurch, February 11, 2010
Brendon McCullum found some reasonable form against Bangladesh © Getty Images
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Friday, February 26, Wellington
Start time 1900 (0600 GMT)

The Big Picture

Australia often play international matches three days apart but rarely in two different countries. The last Twenty20 against West Indies in Sydney was followed by a quick flight across the ditch to Wellington for the first match on a month-long tour of New Zealand. They are coming off a home summer in which they did not lose a match in any format but New Zealand in their own conditions could be a tougher challenge. It is also Michael Clarke's first tour officially in charge of Australia's Twenty20 team - he captained them in England last year but only because Ricky Ponting was being rested.

New Zealand have had a successful home summer as well, losing only one match so far, the second Test against Pakistan. They have played more Twenty20 internationals - 31 - than any other country but have not quite mastered the format, with 13 victories. These games are the last chance for both sides to prepare and ascertain their best line-ups before the ICC World Twenty20, which starts in the Caribbean in late April.

Form guide (most recent first)

New Zealand WLLWW
Australia WWWNL

Watch out for...

Brendon McCullum can be hit-and-miss but he found some form during the Bangladesh series and 56 off 27 balls in the Twenty20 was quite a performance. That was followed by 185 in the only Test and McCullum will be keen to continue that sort of touch against the Australians. His power at the top of the order will need to be a key part of New Zealand's fight against Australia's on-song attack.

Shaun Tait's return to international cricket, albeit only at Twenty20 level, was one of the individual success stories of Australia's summer. He does not play first-class cricket anymore and prefers short, sharp spells to help him reach his best speeds, which peaked at 160.7kph against Pakistan in the Twenty20 in Melbourne. Most importantly, he has taken wickets and leaked few runs as his searing, swinging yorkers and shorter deliveries have proved hard to handle.

Team news

New Zealand have named a 12-man squad, which makes their selections relatively easy. Shane Bond is back in the group having missed the Bangladesh series and Tim Southee is the most likely to make way for Bond. The opener Peter Ingram made a promising start to his international career against Bangladesh but will face a tougher challenge against a fiercely quick Australian new-ball attack.

New Zealand (possible) 1 Brendon McCullum (wk), 2 Peter Ingram, 3 Martin Guptill, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Jacob Oram, 6 Gareth Hopkins, 7 James Franklin, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Shane Bond, 11 Daryl Tuffey.

Dirk Nannes was rested from the final Twenty20 against West Indies but expect him to return to form a very fast opening combination with Shaun Tait. Ryan Harris could be squeezed out despite making a good debut on Tuesday, or the selectors might decide to give Mitchell Johnson a rest. Daniel Christian also picked up two wickets on debut and although both were caught in the deep, he may hold on to his spot at No. 7. Michael Hussey replace Shaun Marsh in the squad but is unlikely to be in Australia's strongest XI, given that he was overlooked for the three Twenty20s at home.

Australia (possible) 1 Shane Watson, 2 David Warner, 3 Michael Clarke (capt), 4 David Hussey, 5 Cameron White, 6 Brad Haddin (wk), 7 Daniel Christian, 8 Steven Smith, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Dirk Nannes, 11 Shaun Tait.

Pitch and conditions

Twenty20 internationals at Westpac Stadium have tended to produce scores around 150-160. The forecast for Friday in Wellington is fine with a top temperature of 19C.

Stats and trivia

  • New Zealand and Australia have played three Twenty20 internationals against each other - Australia have won them all
  • It is five years since these same teams played the first ever Twenty20 international - of the 22 players involved in that match only Brendon McCullum, Daryl Tuffey, Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey are in the mix to play this game
  • Brendon McCullum has played more Twenty20 internationals than any other player in the world and has also scored the most runs

    Quotes

    "They've played bloody well, they've had a relatively easy run I suppose, in terms of the pressure they've been put under so hopefully we can put them under some huge pressure."
    Shane Bond is keen to test Australia more than Pakistan and West Indies did

    "We've had a pretty good run and I'm not sure who they have been playing lately but they'd want to front up pretty well then, wouldn't they."
    Australia's coach Tim Nielsen isn't convinced that New Zealand have had it any harder, facing Bangladesh

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by klobania on (February 26, 2010, 5:42 GMT)

well australians are under estimating the team like new zealand who can produce miracle in a given day i think this battle is going to be the best as compared to other clashes around the cricketing world

Posted by   on (February 26, 2010, 5:29 GMT)

What a match we are going to see tonight.. Bond v Watson and Warner and Tait v McCullum and Ingram.. Go New Zealand

Posted by   on (February 26, 2010, 5:14 GMT)

Well the White Ferns have just thrashed the Aussie Womens team. So its a positive start for NZ Cricket. New Zealand needs to go out all guns blazing & put some pressure on the opponents. Bondie needs to fire some quick deliveries & intimidate the Australian top order, which he successfully did in 2007. Now talking about Westpac Stadium, pitch looks excellent to bat on. Its a bright shiny day here, team which wins the toss would like to bat first, as chasing under the light is always tough here. Its time that Black Caps realise their inner strength & form some big partnerships followed by some excellent bowling. Who says Aussies are unbeatable?? New Zealand did a whitewash in 2007. So on that note I am off for the Westpac Stadium. Game is about to begin shortly. Good Luck NZ.

Posted by jandle on (February 26, 2010, 4:45 GMT)

in relation to Tim Nielson's comments, i think he is using a bit of gamesmanship towards Shane Bond, the way Bond has done towards the Australians. In saying 'im not sure who they've been playing lately', i feel Nieslon is trying to suggest that Bangladesh are easy beats, and that NZ didn't have to work hard for their victories. I'm sure Tim Nielson knew exactly who NZ were playing, but stated that he didn't know, to suggest that it wasn't a overly important leadup for the NZ side

Posted by   on (February 26, 2010, 4:39 GMT)

Aussie look a bit vulnerable. :)

Posted by anunad on (February 26, 2010, 4:10 GMT)

Lets go NZ, Lets go!!!

Posted by nk7792 on (February 26, 2010, 3:16 GMT)

almost impossible to go past australia considering recent form, new zealand deffinately havent proven themselves as world beaters just yet. they've got some really class players but australia seems to lack weaknesses in any department

Posted by JB77 on (February 26, 2010, 1:59 GMT)

Rooboy - Cleary Nielson knows who NZ have been playing. He's just being diplomatic and has used the line 'I'm not sure who they've been playing lately' to tiptoe around the obvious: NZ can't mock Australia's unbeaten summer against lesser teams Pakistan and the Windies when NZ themselves have just been playing Bangladesh. He can't come out and bag Bangladesh publicly so feigning ignorance is the next best thing.

Posted by robotiger on (February 26, 2010, 1:38 GMT)

@Rooboy, I agree it does seem like a strange thing for a coach to say... It kind of reminds me of Nasser Hussein when he couldn't remember Graeme Smith's name. Surely it will only serve to motivate the Kiwis more?!

Posted by Rooboy on (February 26, 2010, 0:54 GMT)

I don't know what to make of Nielsen's comment '... I'm not sure who they have been playing lately ...'. I would like to know the context, but it's pretty poor if just taken at face value. I mean, I'm just an average cricket fan and I kept an eye on the NZ v Bangladesh scores, so if a professional national coach can't even keep up to date about their upcoming opponents, it's not very good. I'm starting to be convinced about 20/20 though ... love tests and was not so keen on 20/20, but after watching the Australian state based Big Bash and then watching Warner etc bat the other night, I'm prepared to admit I may have been wrong and that the shortest form of the game does have a lot to offer.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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