Sport Australia set for crunch T20 in Wellington

19:21  04 march  2021
19:21  04 march  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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Australia will attempt to take their T20 series with New Zealand to the wire with another win behind closed doors in Wellington.

a person throwing a ball: Riley Meredith enjoyed a © AP PHOTO Riley Meredith enjoyed a "brilliant" Australia debut, taking 2-24 in the third T20 against NZ.

Aaron Finch led his side to their first win of the COVID-hit tour on Wednesday night, keeping the series alive.

Another victory would tie the five-match series at 2-2 and turn Sunday's clash into a winner-takes-all affair.

Finch is confident given the progression of the Australians from dire in Christchurch, to competitive in Dunedin, to emphatic in Wellington.

"All in all, in the three games we've improved in each one which is a really pleasing sign," Finch said.

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New Zealand have been boosted by the availability of all-rounder Mitch Santner, who missed game three with a cold.

The 29-year-old isolated himself and got a COVID test to be on the safe side but was cleared on Thursday night and has improved enough to be available for Friday's clash.

Finch said he was glad to hear Santner was on the mend, but that it was bad news for Australia.

"He's a great T20 player, a brilliant international cricketer and someone who helps structure-up their side really well with four guaranteed overs (with the ball) and some power at No.7," he said.

Considering their 64-run win on Wednesday, Finch and selectors Andrew McDonald and George Bailey will be sorely tempted to pick the same XI.

That would mean Daniel Sams missing out again in favour of speedster Riley Meredith, who wowed with 2-24 on debut.

Australia lost spin battle against Kiwis, but they can win the war

  Australia lost spin battle against Kiwis, but they can win the war Spin pair Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar have been key to Australia’s T20 resurgence so it was odd to see captain Aaron Finch seemingly lose faith in them as the Aussies were beaten by New Zealand on Monday. Zampa and Agar sent down just five overs combined as Finch instead employed part-timers Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, with Australia using a whopping seven bowlers. It was a surprising move by Finch after Australia made a commanding start, reducing the Kiwis to 3-19. Particularly so given the strong faith the skipper has previously shown in this spin combo.

"He was brilliant on his debut. He bowled fast and a great length," Finch said.

"He had a real impact in that powerplay when (NZ opener Martin) Guptill started to get going."

At the start of the series, Finch said Australia were likely to do a "bit of information grabbing throughout the series with guys in different roles".

On the surface, that has not happened, with just 13 of the 18-strong squad used to date and just two debutants - Meredith and Josh Philippe - taking to the field.

But Finch insisted there were subtle tweaks that helped with preparation for the October's T20 World Cup in India.

"There have been guys playing really different roles to what they've usually done," he said.

"Ashton Agar (and Adam) Zampa bowling more overs in the powerplay than (they have) done for Australia," he said.

"Mitch Marsh has bat at four and then he's bat at six so there's been a little bit of shuffling around.

"There's definitely some great information that we've gathered so far."

Aussie selectors to track IPL form: Langer .
The Indian Premier League will give those on the fringe of Australia's Twenty20 World Cup squad, like Josh Philippe, a chance to boost their bid for a call-up.The T20 World Cup remains the only major men's cricket tournament Australia are yet to win, with India to host the next edition in October-November.

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