Cricket Galiyara

New Zealand vs Australia, 1st T20I, 2020-21

News Analysis

Five matches give plenty of time for various strands to play out and here are a few things to watch for

Australia’s finisher

There’s no shortage of options to bat at the top of Australia’s order – it’s almost a problem of plenty – but the big question is whether they can bed in a stable No. 6 ahead of the World Cup. Mitchell Marsh was recalled for the final match of the series against England last year and struck an unbeaten 39 to secure a consolation victory in the troublesome position. He has not played since, however, due to an injury which kept him out against India. If he’s able to bowl he brings further balance to the side so may get the first crack in New Zealand. Ashton Turner, the Perth Scorchers batsman, is another option having earned a place in this squad largely on the strength of being seen as a specialist finisher. There will likely remain some flexibility over who takes the role on a match-by-match basis depending on the circumstances of an innings, but Australia would like some clarity on their first-choice option.

Martin Guptill’s form

He is under some pressure heading into this series having not made a T20I half-century in his last 10 innings and scoring 85 runs in five innings against West Indies and Pakistan this season. Four innings in the Super Smash last month brought three single-figure scores before injury curtailed his tournament and put him doubt to face Australia. Guptill’s overall record will buy him credit, but with the development of Glenn Phillips, Devon Conway, Tim Seifert plus the uncapped Finn Allen pushing very hard after a prolific domestic campaign a slump in form could prove costly – Ross Taylor has already been moved aside from the T20I squad this season. “Gup is a class player,” coach Gary Stead said ahead of the series. “If you watched him bat in the nets [on Saturday] you wouldn’t have known there was any issue at all. He hit it like a million dollars.”

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