Match Preview – New Zealand vs Australia, Australia in New Zealand 2020/21, 4th T20I


New Zealand have been handed a boost with Mitchell Santner being available after illness

Big Picture

After a poor performance then a better performance, Australia produced an almost-perfect performance to keep themselves alive in the T20I series. A well-constructed innings, lit up by the hitting of Glenn Maxwell, was followed by a strong bowling display led by an impressive debut for Riley Meredith and a record six-wicket haul from Ashton Agar.

Barring the early loss of Matthew Wade, if Australia could plan a T20 batting innings what they put together in Wellington would be close to the ideal template: a run-rate touching nine-an-over at the midway point with Maxwell having enough time to assess conditions and then cut loose as he did with the 28-run over off Jimmy Neesham.

For a little while it looked as though New Zealand could replicate it as they scored freely in the powerplay, but Meredith’s brace of wickets were key in keeping Australia ahead of the game. Having got set, Martin Guptill had to bat deep but when he fell to Adam Zampa the task quickly became too much – the contest sealed when Agar took three wickets in an over.

New Zealand’s balance was off as they replaced the ill Mitchell Santner with batsman Mark Chapman, relying on just the five bowling options (although Chapman or Kane Williamson could have had a trundle) and the side felt out of kilter. The good news for the home side is that Santner is available for the fourth game having received a negative Covid-19 test and has started to feel better.