New Zealand search for answer to speed
Sunday, February 28, Christchurch
Start time 1800 (0500 GMT)
The Big Picture
Australia's big guns caused extreme damage in the opening Twenty20 on Friday and will chase a repeat performance on the South Island on Sunday. The speed of Shaun Tait, Dirk Nannes and Mitchell Johnson was frightening and the locals were also hurt by the early muscle of David Warner and Shane Watson, the opening batsmen.
Fortunately for New Zealand there is only a day in between contests so there is little time for reflecting on the six-wicket defeat, which came with four overs remaining. Daniel Vettori and Mark Greatbatch, the coach, will hope their batsmen can be more aggressive in their second attempt against the trio of fast bowlers operating around 150kph. It won't be easy.
Form guide (most recent first)New Zealand LWLLW
Watch out for...
Shane Bond kept pace in the speed race with the Australians but it's one against three. After suffering in his first over from David Warner, which included a four and a pulled six, Bond returned to bowl Warner on the way to 2 for 32 from four. In 14 games he has 19 wickets and strikes every 17.2 balls, but his batsmen will be wanting more to make it a fair fight.
Cameron White didn't get to do much on Friday but when he arrived he showed his power with a four and a six in the last over to finish the game. If Australia bat first or have a bigger total to chase he will take on more responsibility and the bowlers will be especially conscious of his big hitting on the smaller ground. In 11 international innings he has cleared the boundary 13 times and owns a strike-rate of 135.42.
Tim Southee is the only person New Zealand can bring in to strengthen their line-up and his inclusion won't help the specialist batsmen, who struggled in the opening encounter. Nathan McCullum is the most likely to miss out, although Daniel Vettori will consider employing a second slow bowler again. "There are big square boundaries, so maybe the spinner will come more into play," he said. "We still need attacking weapons and maybe Tim Southee comes into our thinking."
New Zealand (possible) 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Peter Ingram, 3 Martin Guptill, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Jacob Oram, 6 Gareth Hopkins (wk), 7 James Franklin, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Tim Southee, 10 Shane Bond, 11 Daryl Tuffey.
It would be hard to change the bowling attack after the stunning display, but Ryan Harris remains a front-line option. Shane Watson could be rested to let him in, with Brad Haddin and Travis Birt contenders at the top of the order. Australia have 15 men in the squad, including Nathan Hauritz and Michael Hussey, so there are lots of choices.
Australia (possible) 1 Brad Haddin (wk), 2 David Warner, 3 Michael Clarke (capt), 4 David Hussey, 5 Cameron White, 6 Steven Smith, 7 Daniel Christian, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Ryan Harris, 10 Dirk Nannes, 11 Shaun Tait.
Pitch and conditionsThe ground in Christchurch is smaller than in Wellington, so expect more than the five sixes struck on Friday. A sunny day with a top of 26 is forecast, but it could be a cool finish, with the temperature expected to drop to a minimum of 12 overnight.
Stats and trivia
- The career strike-rate of Michael Clarke, who scored 18 off 26 in Wellington, is 102.20, which ranks him 27th on Australia's all-time list. Fourteen Australians have played more than 10 T20s and in that group Nathan Bracken is the only one who scores slower than Clarke.
- Daniel Vettori has the best strike-rate of the current New Zealand squad with a wicket every 15.2 balls, while Dirk Nannes and Ryan Harris lead the Australian outfit with a victim every 12 deliveries
- Friday night's win was Australia's fourth against New Zealand in four contests between the teams
Quotes"Getting through the first six overs none down, that would be fantastic. And if we can restrict them with the ball it's our best chance of winning."
Daniel Vettori outlines his plans
"They've got the wrong team if they think that. I can guarantee everyone in that room is very keen to get out and play."
Michael Clarke rejects hopes in New Zealand that his side will ease off after a busy summer
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.